Immigration minister Damian Green confirmed last night that the government will look at all immigration routes into the UK and set new rules.
He explained that the previous Labour Government's points-based system for immigration is not yet properly controlling the numbers of people coming into the UK and that an effective system needs to be found. It follows Home Office commissioned research showing a fifth of foreign students granted visas in 2004 were still in the UK five years later.
Speaking at the Royal Commonwealth Club yesterday, Damian Green said:
"We need steady downward pressure on many routes to long-term immigration in order to hit our net migration commitment. We are looking at all routes, and will need to set rules for each of them that give us the immigrants we need. In an increasingly globalised world it is ever more important that proper immigration controls are not only in place but are seen to be in place."
After thirteen years of a Labour Government, the public had lost confidence in the immigration system. Net immigration had more than tripled since 1997, adding pressure on our public services. The sheer scale of immigration under Labour was too high and the points-based system introduced by Labour was still not delivering proper control of numbers of migrants coming into the country.
Forthcoming Government reviews will therefore:
- look at who is qualifying, both in the work and study categories, to make sure that brightest and best are being attracted to the UK
- study why those who come here on routes that do not lead to settlement find it easy to change routes and permanently settle
- ensure a steady downward trend on every route to long-term immigration