12 September 2012

New UK Immigration Minister sets out agenda

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Recently appointed UK Immigration Minister Mark Harper has promised to continue the work of his predecessor Damian Green in his first speech to Parliament.

UK immigration

Mark Harper believes the Government's goal of reducing net migration to the 'tens of thousands' is doable.

Mr Harper, who has been the Conservative MP for the Forest of Dean since 2005, was appointed the new immigration minister in Prime Minister David Cameron's first Cabinet reshuffle.

While the position of immigration minister counts as a Home Office position and is therefore not a Cabinet position, Mr Harper is widely considered to be a rising star within the Conservative Party and took his first ministerial opportunity to lay out a tough agenda.

The coalition Government's target of reducing net UK immigration to the 'tens of thousands' by 2015 has been dismissed by many critics but Mr Harper vowed to continue his predecessor's efforts to achieve that goal.

"We want the brightest and the best to come to the UK to support economic growth. We have consulted widely on our reforms with business and the higher education sector," said the minister.

"We haven't prevented a single highly skilled worker coming to the UK at all; we've made investor and entrepreneur routes more attractive and accessible.

"Our aim is to eliminate abuse and focus on high quality, high value sectors.

"Reducing net migration and tackling abuse are completely compatible with continuing to attract the brightest and the best.

"Immigration can be beneficial to Britain but the unsustainable levels we have seen have been damaging. That was why we said we would get a grip."


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