Friday, October 9, 2009

UK Conservatives vow to cap numbers of migrants

S Kalyana Ramanathan / London October 09, 2009

Britain’s shadow home secretary Chris Grayling on Wednesday said his Conservative Party will, when it comes to power, introduce a ceiling on immigration to check the “gaping hole” in policy. He said, should the conservatives be elected to form the next government, measures will be introduced to check the “rampant abuse” of students’ visas.

Speaking on the third day of the party’s annual conference in Manchester on Wednesday, Grayling said he would encourage immigrants to live and work in the UK, if their talent and skills would help fix the domestic economy, but will introduce a cap on the number of immigrants who can settle in the UK.

“A Conservative government would be “robust” about immigration. (But) there will be no open door to Britain,” Grayling said.

Grayling said the “gaping hole” in the student visa system would be closed and there would be a crackdown on traffickers. Britain would have its own, specialist border police force. “I will not tolerate more of the chaos of the past few years,” he added.

Though the current Labour government does have checks on immigration through a two-year-old, points-based system, it did not have a policy of putting a quantitative cap on the number of immigrants who can settle and work in the UK. The proposed policy by the Conservatives, should they be elected, will be more in line with the American system of issuing a fixed number visas for any given year.

Britain is getting ready for its next general election, to be held before next June. The latest opinion polls have indicated the 12-year Labour government has very little chance of retaining power, falling behind the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats. The Conservative party is led by David Cameron, 42, who will be the next Prime Minister should his party win the elections.

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