Only 24,400 workers from outside EU to be allowed in next 9 months
28th June 2010: Only 24,400 workers from outside the EU will be allowed into the UK in the next nine months, as Britain for the first time in history places a cap on the number of immigrants.
The number is 1,300 less than the previous year.
The limit – in sync with Tory election pledge – will remain in force till the first full annual cap is set next April. This will be done after a nationwide consultation. Also, the Home Secretary is expected to give formal notice to Parliament before the interim cap is introduced next month.
The move comes even as the country sees a second successive annual fall in net migration.
Clearly indicating that the government "means business”, Home Secretary Theresa May has cautioned that Britain will be crushed under the pressure of too many people, if the Government did not act now.
May agreed immigration has been good for them. But at the same time said uncontrolled immigration was not.
All set to put in place Britain’s first ever cap on new arrivals, she insisted people knew controlling immigration made sense, as they could feel the pressure on housing, schools and hospitals.
May claimed public services would not be able to cope up with the pressure, unless something was done. This necessitated the action of bringing down the numbers of people coming into the country.
She said the interim limit was not only important for controlling the pressure, but also because it clearly indicated they meant business.
May said the cap on immigration was not just something they had talked about. They were actually going ahead with it. She reiterated her earlier stand that they were serious about reducing the number of people coming in to work from outside the EU.
The Government’s pledge is to cut down immigration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands each year. May said it would be achieved "over the term of a parliament" – or within the next five years.
May agreed that the issue was the toughest challenge she has faced, but said she believed the voters during the next election would judge whether the coalition Government delivered on the issue.
May refuted claims in reports that placing a cap on immigration could cost Britain as much as 9 billion a year in lost tax revenues.
Referring to the Labour leadership, she said it was very easy for Ed Balls and others to suddenly describe it as a big issue, after not doing things when they had the opportunity.
Claiming Labour failed to get a grip, she said they also failed to recognise the impacts of not dealing with it, the impact it had on people’s lives and on public services.