The BBC has very helpfully summarised the pledges each of the main parties have made on Immigration:-
- Aim to keep annual net migration in tens of thousands
- EU migrants to wait four years before they can claim certain benefits or social housing
- No out of work benefits for migrants or child benefit for dependents living outside UK
- Negotiate with EU to bring in stronger powers to deport foreign criminals and prevent re-entry
- 1,000 new border staff and exit checks
- Keep cap on workers from outside the EU
- Make it illegal for employers to undercut British workers by exploiting migrants
- Two-year wait before EU migrants can claim out-of-work benefits
- Restore full entry and exit border checks
- End indefinite detention for immigration purposes
- Require new claimants with poor English skills to attend language courses in order to receive JSA
- Phase out child benefit for children living outside the UK
- Points system used to select migrants with skills and attributes needed to work in the country
- Immigration capped at 50,000 people a year for skilled workers
- Five-year ban on immigration for unskilled workers
- Five-year wait before migrants can claim benefits
- Support sensible immigration policies that meet Scotland’s economic needs
- Seek the reintroduction of the post study work visa
- Review current immigration detention system and regime, in order to deliver a fairer and more effective system
- Remove restrictions on foreign students
- Abolish family migration rules requiring citizens to have a minimum income for their spouse to come and join them in the UK
- More rights for asylum seekers
- No preference for those with resources or desirable skills.
It is noted that none of the parties seem to have addressed the fact that the UK is facing unprecedented and acute skill shortages in many areas of industry. Understandably any talk of allowing more immigration which might be of benefit to the UK is a political hot potato but it is a subject that needs to be addressed. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation has stated that “last year there were 9 areas of skills shortages now there are 43”. Every type of engineering discipline is in short supply as well as there being skills shortages in plumbing, building, IT, coding, programming, teaching nursing and medicine. The Royal Academy of Engineering has stated that Britain will need more than a million new engineers by 2020.
The current cap allowing only 20,700 skilled migrants to be sponsored under Tier 2 annually needs to be increased to enable skilled workers to fill these gaps. Unless these skill shortages are addressed immediately the much coveted economic recovery and growth may be stunted.
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