1) UK policy on immigration needs a new direction based on a philosophy of being fair, flexible and forward-thinking.
2) The UK should introduce a bespoke British Working Visa System, its aim being to reduce net migration to around 50,000 per year. This would bring migration levels down to those last seen in the mid-1990s.
3) The new system will be overseen by a revamped Migration Advisory Council that will set targets on numbers, the criteria for visas and points and will report to Parliament, who will vote annually on the numbers.
4) The public understand that immigration can bring benefits and that any system should not discriminate against any person of talent or skill from wherever they come from. Therefore, there should be no cap on highly skilled workers, entrepreneurs, investors or those now in the highly skilled Tier 1 visa category.
5) There should be a moratorium on unskilled visas for five years, subject to specified exemptions laid out by the Migration Advisory Council. This will place a greater emphasis on the training, education and employment of 826,000 16-24 year old UK citizens who are currently unemployed or inactive (as of December 2016).
6) The Migration Advisory Council will implement a new temporary work permit scheme for seasonal agricultural workers. There will be a 50,000 annual cap for these temporary visas, tapering numbers down after the first full year of leaving the EU. This will encourage businesses to train replacements. These temporary visas will be capped at six months.
7) There should be no further restrictions on student immigration. International students are an asset to the UK economy and their time studying in UK universities fosters valuable cultural ties. They should continue to be counted in quarterly migration statistics.
8) In respect of the NHS, an independent body should be established to assess safe staffing levels. Exemptions should be made to allow additional skilled health workers from overseas if required, but consideration should be given to introduce a capping system and in turn increase the number of UK citizens working in the medical profession.
9) Border force technology and systems we use to monitor those entering the UK will be upgraded. An effective working visa system should be integrated with National Insurance and passport controls so accurate monitoring of numbers can take place.
10) Those who are granted temporary working visas would not be eligible to social benefits or housing benefits. A new immigrant will only be entitled to benefits after having paid taxes at a set level for five years.
11) We will end family reunion for international students and temporary workers.
12) Current EU nationals will be given the right to remain indefinitely, as long as the EU grants the same rights to UK citizens living in Europe.
13) Ideally, any EU nationals who entered the UK after March 29th 2017, the day Article 50 was invoked by the UK Government, should not have the right to remain indefinitely unless they qualify for one of the new visas. However, as it would be wrong to announce this retrospectively, the Government should immediately announce a cut off date in April 2017.
14) The UK will review its visa revenue charges as part of its Brexit negotiations with the European Union. In the event of the EU placing onerous tourist and travel restrictions on UK citizens, we will consider introducing a standard tourist fee similar to the United States ESTA. This would add additional investment to the Border Force system, allowing an increase in staffing levels and greater technology improvements. Charges for visas – particularly for Tier 1 and Tier 2 migrants – will be put out for consultation.
15) To improve integration and reduce segregation in our communities, British law will be regarded as supreme and a Royal Commission will be established to review how best to build a more cohesive society. Practices such as FGM are illegal, however there needs to be a way to deliver a successful prosecution.
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