UK Immigration Minister Damian Green spoke recently at the Royal Commonwealth Society in London about immigration. The Immigration Minister said that the Government wishes to “maximize” the benefits of immigration. This means that the unsustainable levels of net migration seen in recent years must be brought down. He added that we need to understand more clearly why a significant proportion of students are still here more than 5 years after their arrival. And we also need a system which can scrutinize effectively, and if necessary take action against, those whose long-term presence would be of little or no economic benefit.
UK Immigration has done research recently on immigration into the UK and has published a new report about immigration called “The migrant journey”. The immigration report looks at what has happened to immigrants who came into the UK in 2004. According to UK immigration the largest group of migrants were the 186,000 students on student visas. The immigration minister went onto say that more than twenty percent of migrants were still in the UK five years later.
Immigration Minister Damian Green also said that some Tier 1 highly skilled work route are not doing specialized jobs. I was also struck by some of the individual applications I saw under the [Tier 2] skilled worker category: people running takeaway restaurants and production-line workers on salaries in the low £20,000s. These are not the sort of jobs we talk about when we think of bringing in skilled immigrants who have talents not available among our own workforce or the unemployed.
The UK immigration minister also defended the controversial annual limit on immigration and said that we absolutely need sustainable immigration levels. This will relieve pressure on public services, and stop immigration being such a delicate political issue. UK immigration has provided enormous economic benefits to the UK economy. Many people have commented that recent changes which have made immigration to the UK more difficult and more expensive will caused harm in the long term to the UK economy.