Cap on Economic Migration Will Have a Limited Effect

April 04, 2011

The Government’s cap on economic migration which comes into effect on 6 April will have only a limited effect on net migration in the medium term but it could become a barrier against future increases in economic migration. That is the conclusion of a paper published today by Migrationwatch.

Generous transition arrangements and effectively unlimited Intra Company Transfers (ICT's) should meet most employer needs and are certainly not onerous. Future numbers will depend on the extent to which employers use the ICT route. The present tax advantages of doing so must be removed so as to level the playing field for British workers some of whom are losing their jobs to immigrants, especially in IT.

The continuing flow of economic migrants makes it all the more important that the government should break the present almost automatic link between economic migration and settlement. There must also be much more effective measures to ensure the return of workers when their visas expire. These steps are essential of the government is to meet its objective of reducing net immigration from the current 200,000 a year to tens of thousands a year by the end of this Parliament.

Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch said "There has been some welcome progress but, despite the best efforts of Home Office Ministers, it is now clear that a number of key measures have been obstructed by Liberal Democrat objections. This may be inevitable in a coalition government but the public should be clear about where responsibility lies. Meanwhile, if the number of economic migrants shows any significant increase, public opinion will want these issues to be re-visited".

Note to Editors:

The two main weaknesses are the failure to place any cap on Intra Company Transfers and the decision not to abolish the Post Study Work Route, despite 20% unemployment among recent British graduates.

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