The creation of a sustainable selective immigration system that encourages the brightest and best to come to the UK was reaffirmed by British Immigration Minister Damian Green in a major keynote speech signalling tougher measures on settlement and student visas among other things. Migrants in the UK who wish to settle will need to be earning at least £31,000 per year.
At a speech at the right wing think tank the Policy Exchange, the Minister expressed a desire to 'raise the tone of the immigration debate' and start building a national consensus on how immigration can be made to work for Britain.
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He said he was committed to pressing on with sweeping reforms that impose restrictions on those migrants the country does not need, while developing a greater selectivity to attract those migrants the country wants.
Damian Green said:
'We need to know not just that the right number of people are coming here, but that the right people are coming here. People that will benefit Britain - not just those who will benefit by Britain.
'We have laid the foundations for a sustainable system where we get numbers down and keep them down. Now we shall make it work for Britain.'
The video below is of an interview Damian Green gave shortly after the speech being interviewed by veteran journalist Andrew Neil on the BBC's The Daily Politics show.
The government has committed to reduce net migration numbers from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands.
In the latest published quarterly figures, compared to a year previously, there are early signs of a positive impact on numbers following restrictions imposed by this government on non-EEA workers and students.
The video below is the actual speech by Damian Green.
The government will soon be announcing further changes to family migration and reforms to settlement, breaking the link between temporary and permanent migration.
It will also be completing its changes to eliminate abuse of the student visa route and is currently reviewing the annual limit on skilled economic migrants.
In his speech the Minister expressed his intention that the long-term transformation of British immigration policy will introduce greater selectivity. He added that the 'points based system' of the past should ultimately be replaced by a 'contribution-based system' where migrants are checked to ensure they will add to quality of life in the UK.
This is already starting with the development of more selective routes for entrepreneurs, investors and those with exceptional talent alongside existing routes for entertainers, trainees and researchers.
The Minister confirmed the introduction of a new route for international graduate entrepreneurs - international students who have engaged in innovative entrepreneurial activity during their studies and want to stay on afterwards to develop their business ideas.
The government will also improve the system for some short-term business visitors and entertainers to ensure world-class performers are encouraged to come here.
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