06 March 2012

Minister vows to combat UK immigration addiction

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Immigration Minister Damian Green has claimed the country has become 'addicted' to hiring foreign workers and his new UK immigration policies are intended to combat this.

UK visa

UK Immigration Minister Damian Green claims the country is 'addicted' to hiring foreign workers.

Mr Green insisted that UK immigration does not exclude skilled migrant but called on British businesses to prioritise hiring or training British staff.

"If you have skills and talents that Britain needs, then absolutely, we welcome you with open arms; if you haven't, then we don't," said Mr Green.

"Like all addictions, it takes some time to wean people off but it's good for you to be weaned off an addiction and it will be good for business in the long run if we have more an instinct that's 'let's find a British worker and, if necessary, let's train a British worker."

Mr Green's comments come on the heels of announcements made by both his office and the Home Office regarding new restrictions placed on UK visa holders as well as new applicants. Under new rules, visa holders must secure a position paying at least £35,000 within five years or return to their native country.

The changes are part of the Conservative Party's election pledge to reduce net immigration to the 'tens of thousands' from its current level of approximately 250,000 although Mr Green admits this is no easy task.

"We deliberately set ourselves a five-year target. We always knew that it was going to take the [length of the] parliament because we could see the net migration figures rising."

Critics of the Coalition Government have spoken out against Mr Green's measure, claiming it to be harmful to lower wage earners but Mr Green denies these accusations, claiming they actually help poorer citizens.

"It is actually in some of the poor areas of our inner cities that you get these social tensions that are no good to anyone on either side of them. And relieving those tensions, therefore, is a policy to help some of the more disadvantaged areas of this country."

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

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