02 February 2012

UK immigration minister says migrants must ‘benefit Britain’

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In a speech to be given today at the Policy Exchange think tank, UK Immigration Minister Damian Green is expected to declare that immigrants must 'add to the quality of life in Britain' to be allowed in to the country.

UK visa

UK Immigration Minister Damian Green is to give a speech today at the Policy Exchange think tank.

Mr Green's speech is intended to outline a new and more selective policy for granting immigrants a UK visa. The new policy is expected to redefine the current points based system as a 'contribution based' system.

"We need to know not just that the right numbers of people are coming here, but that the right people are coming here.

"People who will benefit Britain, not just those who will benefit by Britain."

"Whether you come here to work, study, or get married, we as a country are entitled to check that you will add to the quality of life in Britain."

The Conservative Party pledged upon entering government that they would reduce net migration from almost 250,000 to the "tens of thousands" - a level that hasn't been seen since the 90s - by the end of the current parliament.

While recent estimations speculate that current rates are well outside of this target, the Government is yet to introduce further planned overhauls of the UK immigration system including how student, work and family visas are allocated and processed.

Mr Green is expected to say that the number of migrants entering the UK is the priority, but that who is let in is second to how many.

"Getting the number down is the absolute key but what I am aiming at is fewer and better

 "Britain does not need more migrant middle managers, any more than it needs unskilled labour.

"We do need top of the range professionals, senior executives, technical specialists, entrepreneurs and exceptional artistic and scientific talent. One of the tasks for the future is shaping the system so that is allows us to be more precisely selective."

Labour's shadow immigration minister, Chris Bryant, has already criticised the proposals:

"David Cameron pledged 'no ifs, no buts': net migration would be in the tens of thousands by the end of the Parliament. Yet the [immigration] minister has again set out no workable proposals to deliver it."

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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