In almost a week’s time the General Elections would be streaming and the parties have come up with their respective strategies, agendas and plans.
The Conservative and Unionist Party’s election manifesto addresses aspects of immigration relating to the process of leaving the EU, as well as asylum policy and ending modern slavery. The Conservatives pledge in the Brexit negotiations to secure the entitlements of EU nationals in Britain and British nationals in the EU’ and promise to maintain the Common Travel Area and ‘maintain a border as frictionless as possible for people, goods and services between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The party intends to double the Immigration skills charge levied on companies employing migrant workers, to £2000 a year before the end of the next parliament’ and this revenue will be used to invest in higher skills training for workers in the UK.
On the subject of asylum, the government intends reform the asylum system to offer refuge to people in parts of the world affected by conflict and oppression, rather than those who have made it to Britain and to continue to ‘work with other countries in Europe, and the United Nations, to review the international legal definitions of asylum and refugee status, further establish schemes to benefit business, churches, charities and community groups that provide housing and other support for refugees. With respect to modern slavery, the Modern Slavery Act would be reviewed to address the exploitation of people in dangerous working conditions.
The government wishes the independent Migration Advisory Committee to make recommendations to the government about how the visa system can become better aligned with a modern industrial strategy such as the Immigration Health Surcharge fee to be increased to ‘£600 for migrant workers and £450 for international students, but it remains unsure if it will be a one off charge, or an annual fee. The government would follow a skills-based approach which would address immigration reforms such as controlling and reducing immigration number, from ‘hundreds of thousands’ to ‘tens of thousands’ by either bearing down on immigration from outside the EU, increase the earnings thresholds for people wishing to sponsor migrants for family visas, toughen visa requirements for students, expect students to leave the country at the end of their course, continue to include international students in the net migration statistics and hence simply make it harder for people to enter the country if they have a criminal conviction’ and lastly implement ‘satellite tracking for every foreign national offender subject to an outstanding deportation order to deportation proceedings’.
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