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U.K. Needs To Cut Immigration Numbers for Integration

  1. Immigration Blog
  2. U.K. Needs To Cut Immigration Numbers for Integration

Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick said immigration was creating huge pressures on communities, according to The Times, piling fresh pressure on the U.K. government to tighten immigration policy further

The large number of immigrants coming to the United Kingdom had made integration impossible, a former immigration minister said and suggested the Home Office needed to be split into two to better handle migration policy.

Robert Jenrick, who quit the government last year over its approach to migration, said immigration was creating huge pressures on communities and was not making the country richer, according to The Times, ratcheting up pressure on the government to tighten immigration policy further. Reducing the number of immigrants coming to the country would allow Britain to build a more cohesive and united country, he said.

Jenrick said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak needed to implement his plans to cut the number of people coming to Britain if he wanted to win back voters and see off the threat from Reform UK, according to The Times. In a report released May 8, Jenrick along with former housing minister Neil O’Brien called for the Home Office to be split up because it is incapable of securing Britain’s borders, The Times said.

The report outlines how the government could change the immigration system quickly to bring immigration numbers down to the levels they were used to in the years prior to 1997, Jenrick said, according to The Times.

High immigration was placing “immense pressure” on housing and public services, creating “cultural issues” and he said: “I don’t believe it’s making the country richer,” he said, according to The Times.

“We want a country where there is a diversity of opinion and migrants throughout our history have added to our culture and enriched our country. But if you have such large numbers of people coming in as we’ve seen in the last 25 years, and in particular in the last couple of years, that makes integration impossible and it places huge pressures on communities,’’ according to The Times.

“Someone coming into the country may bring benefits but they don’t come with a home, a mile of road, a hospital bed.”

Jenrick recommended creating a new Department of Border Security and Immigration Control, which would focus on migration policy. The rest of the Home Office’s responsibilities should be covered by a new Department for Policing and National Security.

Jenrick and O’Brien said in the report that the overhaul would be an opportunity to “instil a totally different culture in the Home Office” staffed with “new personnel and processes”.

They said immigration was consistently one of voters’ top concerns but the Home Office had “fallen short on this front” and while staffed by “many good, hard-working people”, it had proven itself “simply too unwieldy to function effectively”. It had been “undermined by high levels of churn and a lack of institutional knowledge”.

The U.K. issued a record 1.4 million visas to foreign nationals to live in the country in 2023, the Home Office said in February. The rise was driven by a 46 per cent increase in foreign workers and almost half of those granted visas were family members of workers.

The Home Office has said that the immigration numbers will start falling once a series of measures announced in December start to take effect.

They have included scrapping dependant visas for care workers, increasing the threshold salary to qualify for a Skilled Worker visa to £38,700 from £26,200 and disallowing foreign students not involved in research to bring in dependants from January 1, 2024. All of this should help to cut net migration by about 300,000 a year.

The government is under pressure to curb net migration, which climbed to a record 745,000 in 2022, about three times the annual average before the pandemic. Curbing the inflow of foreigners was a key election plank of the Conservative Party.

If you are considering applying for a visa for the U.K. it might be sensible to act sooner rather than later. There is no knowing how these prospective changes might impact you. One thing is pretty certain: that getting into the U.K. and achieving permanent residency will not get any easier.

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