22 April 2010

Lib Dem’s UK immigration plan to direct migrants to Scotland

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Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats immigration policy proposal for “earned citizenship” for those who have been living illegally in Britain for more than 10 years has earned support from London's mayor, Boris Johnson.

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Part of the Lib Dems UK immigration plan will be to direct migrants to Scotland and other regional areas.

Another UK immigration policy, a regional point-based system to direct new migrants to under-populated areas such as Scotland has not received as much support, with the Highly Skilled Migrants Forum saying it is an impractical measure that curtails the basic right to freedom of movement.

Boris Johnson has provided some political backing for Clegg's immigration policy of "earned citizenship". While he opposed an on-going amnesty for illegal migrants he said a "one-off" would be worth considering if it only applied to people who had been in the UK for at least five years, had no criminal record and could pay their own way.

An earlier London School of Economics study commissioned by the London mayor  estimated that there could be 618,000 irregular migrants in Britain.

The other main UK immigration policy that would mean work permits for foreign skilled labour would only available for under-populated areas such as Scotland, with permits for London and south-east England more difficult to obtain. The Lib Dems propose the policy would be policed through companies themselves, as it would be illegal to employ a foreign migrant in a region without a work permit, rather than policing where people live.

The Highly Skilled Migrants Forum has objected the proposal, and London First, which represents businesses in the City, also said global business investment depends on how easy it is to move staff around offices, even from overseas, and that restrictions could damage long-term business prospects.

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