UK Visa cap 'will strangle Britain' says immigrant council

- Posted in United Kingdom by Visa Bureauon 27 September 2010

A temporary cap on non-EU immigration was put in place in the middle of the year by the Coalition Government to stop a rush of UK Visa applications ahead of a permanent cap that will be put in place in April 2011.  The interim limits apply to all new applicants under Tier 1 (General), except for extension applications and in-country applications. Applications under Tier 2 (General) are limited by the number of Employer Sponsorship Licences that are issued.

The Immigration Minister, Damian Green, has said that the government will rigorously defend any legal challenge on its interim UK Visa cap.

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) chief executive Habib Rahman said Britain already had one of the most advanced and robust immigration systems in Europe with the Points-Based System, which responds directly to economic needs.

Mr Rahman also challenged the Conservative leader’s claim that immigration was straining public services by pointing to the fact that a high proportion of doctors, nurses, teachers, care workers and other public servants were born and trained overseas.

“No future Government can achieve a reduction of immigration on this scale because of economic, political and legal constraints. We believe that David Cameron must be aware of this fact.

“Immigration has acted as a crucial lifeline to the NHS and to specialised industry. An arbitrary cap on people coming to the UK will strangle industry and suffocate business,” Mr Rahman said.
He added: “A cap on immigration at the level proposed could also result in patients going untreated in our hospitals and leave the elderly uncared for in their homes.”

Mr Rahman’s comments were based on facts that included:

  • Research from the National Institute of Economic and Social research that found that 17 per cent of economic growth between 2004 and 2005 was a result of immigration;
  • Migrants are net contributors to the public purse and therefore subsidise services for UK born residents. Immigrants paid £41.2 billion in tax during 2003-4, according to IPPR;
  • Any reduction in student visas would devastate higher and further education. Students from overseas contribute at least £3.74 billion annually to UK universities and £1 billion in GDP;
  • The public sector could not function without immigration: a third of doctors and dentists qualified abroad, according to Migration Watch. Almost half (47 per cent) of nurses in London are immigrants.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their  UK Visa applications to the British High Commission.