13 September 2010

London mayor Boris Johnson voices opposition to UK immigration cap

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The current mayor of London, Conservative politician Boris Johnson, has spoken out against his own party’s plans for a cap on migrants entering the country from outside the European Union on a UK visa allowing them to work.

Johnson, who today announced his intention to stand for a second term as Mayor, argued that the new UK Immigration policy would “put the economic recovery at risk” and called for a “major rethink of government policy”.

In a submission to a government-ordered consultation on the issue, being conducted by the independent ‘Migration Advisory Committee’ (MAC), an expert body on migration, Johnson claims that a cap on incoming workers from outside the EU would result in “economic harm” which he argues “would be substantial given their vital contribution to the UK economy, and disproportionately felt in London given their concentration in the capital”.

The UK’s coalition government currently plans to introduce a permanent cap on people coming to the UK to work from outside the EU and has already introduced a temporary cap to that effect. Immigration Minister Damian Green has previously declared that British businesses must end their reliance on migrant workers.

This has already attracted some criticism, with business group London First, representing many of London’s leading companies, describing the cap as “discriminating against economically beneficial high-value-add immigration” in its own submission to the consultation. Chief executive of London First, Baroness Jo Valentine, recently described the cap as “ludicrous”.

The MAC consultation is due to close on 17th September, with permanent limits on non-EU economic migration routes to be decided after that date, and implemented by 1st April 2011.


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