Senior Conservatives are backing a report calling for an end to low-skilled migration after Britain leaves the European Union, in order to “honour the results of the referendum”.
Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, and David Jones, who was Brexit minister until June, said a forthcoming Government policy document on immigration should set out plans to cut migration to “mid-Nineties levels”.
The pair supported a paper sent to Downing Street by Leave Means Leave, the pro-Brexit campaign, calling for ministers to stop low-skilled migration and set criteria which would be have to be met by highly-skilled migrants seeking work permits following Britain’s departure from the EU.
The plan should be implemented from March 30 2019, the date of Britain’s exit, the goup said.
The document has been sent to ministers as they draw up a white paper Britain’s post-Brexit immigration policies, which is expected to be published in the New Year.
The group said that under its plan, in order for a highly-skilled migrant to obtain a work permit they would need to fulfill criteria including an offer of a graduate level job paying a minimum of £30,000 “or the appropriate rate for the role, whichever is higher”, a “minimum level of English language competence”, an “appropriate amount” of savings, and evidence of an adequate health insurance policy.
“In respect of the NHS, both doctors and nurses would qualify as highly skilled workers and would therefore be able to continue to come to the UK under the work permit scheme.”
Mr Jones said: “The UK’s withdrawal from the European Union provides the Government with a valuable opportunity to regain control of our own borders.
“The Leave Means Leave paper puts forward sensible immigration control policies that will safeguard the interests of EU nationals already resident in the UK whilst ensuring that business continues to obtain the supply of skilled labour that it needs.
“This is a thoughtful document that offers practical solutions to a problem that has bedevilled governments for many decades. I urge the Home Office to give it serious consideration.”
Mr Duncan Smith, who was work and pensions secretary under David Cameron, said: “This is a sensible set of proposals for a future immigration policy that the government should adopt.
“It would deliver on the Brexit mandate both to take back control of borders and bring down net levels of migration.” Richard Tice, Co-Chair of Leave Means Leave said: “For too long, Britain has been unable to control its borders and reduce our levels of net migration. This is because we have been subject to EU rules on freedom of movement. For the first time in forty years, the UK Government has the opportunity to take back control of immigration policy.
“EU policy has led to suppression of wages for British workers over last decade with zero real wage growth.
“We are proposing a policy that addresses the views of the public, the needs of business and the economy, the impact on the population and public services as well as international obligations.”
November 25th, 2017: Telegraph