With just a few days left until the general election Claire Taylor Evans looks at the parties views on immigration.
Immigration is a hot topic at the moment and features highly on each political parties manifesto.
Since the last election, the Conservatives have sought to restrict the number of migrants entering the UK by introducing numerous limitations to the current regime but many feel they have not gone far enough and their failure to reach their original pledge to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands has been highly publicised by the press.
So how do the opposition propose to do things better? Labour has, along with the other parties, suggested that more robust border controls are necessary and want to reduce the number of low skilled workers coming to the UK and instead encourage “the brightest and the best” from outside of the EU. They will also require large firms hiring migrants to offer domestic apprenticeships.
We all know UKIP’s views on immigration. They want us to leave the EU, adopt an Australian style point based system for those who already have a job in the UK and increase the time required to have been spent in the UK for an application for indefinite leave to remain from 5 to 10 years. They also want to cap net employment migration to 50,000 a year ( something that commentators have suggested is illegal) and raise the English Language Skills requirements that migrants face.
The Lib-Dems have pledged, amongst other things, to introduce better entry checks and create an ability to halt migration if the number of migrants arriving at any one time is too large. How this might work in practice remains to be seen.
And if the Conservatives are re-elected? Well this time they promise to try harder. However, without renegotiating the UK’s relationship with the EU, there is very little they can do about net migration. Cameron has promised a referendum on this by 2017.
They also plan to “deport first and appeal later” in relation to immigration appeals, make it harder for EU nationals to bring non EU spouses to the UK, take tough action on sponsors who fail to prevent migrants overstaying , require EU jobseekers to leave if they have not found a job within 6 months and introduce a requirement that migrants must be in the UK for at least 4 years before being able to access benefits.
So who will win? Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain, there will be changes to the current immigration regime, whether or not those changes are significant remains to be seen.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.