Brickbats and bouquets for Clegg

Boris Johnson says a "one-off" worth considering. Regional PBS impractical, say critics. 

23 April 2010: Nick Clegg’s conditional offer to allow those living in the UK without the correct documentation to become British citizens after 10 years, has found favour with London’s mayor Boris Johnson.
But the party’s other immigration policy of having a regional point-based system for directing new migrants to under-populated areas such as Scotland is being dubbed as impractical by critics.

In the party’s election manifesto ‘Four steps to a fairer UK’, Clegg had already made it clear that those living in the UK without the correct documentation will be allowed to become British citizens after 10 years if they speak English, have a clean record and want to live here long-term.

Johnson said a "one-off" would be worth considering, if it applied to people living in the UK for past at least five years, had no criminal record and could pay their own way.

The assertion is significant, as a study earlier carried out by the London School of Economics, commissioned by Johnson, had estimated 618,000 irregular migrants in Britain.

The party’s other proposal of regional based system came under fire by The Highly Skilled Migrants Forum and London First.

According to the proposal, work permits for foreign skilled labour would be available more easily for under-populated areas such as Scotland, while permits for London and south-east England would be comparatively more difficult to obtain.

Raising objections, the Forum said it was an impractical proposal, while London First — representing businesses in the City — insisted restrictions could damage long-term business prospects.

Elaborating, it said global business investment depended on easy mobility of the staff around offices, even from overseas.

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