Call to intensify tension with Lib Dem partners
6th September 2010: The on-going tension with the Lib Dem partners over the issue of immigration is expected to intensify further, with Tory Immigration Minister Damian Green calling for a massive crackdown on the number of students’ visas given to foreigners.
His call is expected to revoke a sharp reaction from Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable. He had caused a flutter during David Cameron’s trip to India by expressing views against the cap, which he believed would harm trade links.
Already, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has dismissed plans of introducing a cap on non-EU immigrants by asserting people want a generous immigration system.
Even as Prime Minister David Cameron has all along been insisting that introducing a cap on non-EU immigrants is vital, the Deputy Prime Minister only recently reopened a Coalition fissure by making himself clear on the issue.
Agreeing on the need to be ‘tough on numbers’, Clegg made it clear much more important was to ensure immigration system has people’s confidence, people’s trust and people were coming in for the right reasons.
Amidst all the tension on the issue, Green has made it clear that his main target will be student visas.
Green has asserted it was abundantly clear he must cut down on the numbers permitted to enter and stay in every category of immigration controls, particularly the students.
The assertion follows a Home Office report showing over a fifth of overseas visitors, in the UK to study five years ago, are still here; and an increasing number of them were changing their immigration status by procuring work permits or marrying to remain in Britain indefinitely.
Green is expected to take support from the research findings to call for “across-the-board” cuts to immigrant numbers.
Green has already asserted: ‘We have already placed a temporary limit on non-EU nationals coming to the UK to work and are looking at how we can tighten up the Student Tier of the Points Based System to ensure that every student who comes to the UK is genuine.’
The assertion had come soon after the release of the latest annual and quarterly national statistics on immigration in the United Kingdom.
The figures resulted in Green reiterating: ‘These statistics show why we must tighten our immigration system in order to reduce net migration to manageable levels.
‘While it is important that we attract the brightest and the best to ensure strong economic growth, uncontrolled migration places unacceptable pressure on public services.
‘The government is committed to reducing the level of net migration over the course of this Parliament to the levels of the 1990s — tens of thousands each year, not hundreds of thousands’.