UK to cut total immigration to ‘tens of thousands’

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has said she wants to reduce net migration to the UK by “tens of thousands” in order to fulfill a long-standing Tory promise and deliver on Brexit promises.

“Overall, we need to reduce net migration,” Braverman told Christopher Hope. Daily Telegraph at the Tory Party conference in Birmingham on Tuesday, adding: “This is my unfiltered, unapologetic, unvarnished view. Total immigration needs to come down… 239,000 was the latest figure and that’s really the same as pre-Brexit numbers.”

“I’m not ashamed to say, I voted and campaigned for Brexit for sovereignty but also to reduce immigration for many reasons, there are structural pressures that mass and rapid immigration is putting on our country, on housing supply, on house prices, on the number of GP places, the school places, we’re dealing with more and more people and it makes sense for the government to have a rational and realistic view of the number of people coming into this country.”

While the newly installed home secretary did not commit to a firm number or time frame for achieving her goal, she said it was her “ultimate ambition” to reduce the number of net migration to the tens of thousands, as she had long promised in Conservative party. In 2017, former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne admitted that the party had never had any intention of reducing immigration.

Although Osborne represents a wing of the Tory force that has been banished to the shadows – to some extent – after Brexit, it remains the case that Braverman will have an uphill battle if she is to make any progress on immigration. The Home Office set-up completely broke with her predecessor Priti Patel, who was seen as a far-right immigration hardliner when she took the job: when she left the role this year, she showed some signs of “going native” in the department, defending poor performance of immigration.

Braverman will also have to convince her current cabinet colleagues. As reported today, some government departments want even more immigration than the record levels that exist now, and that a battle of numbers may be on the cards.

Braverman, whose parents came to the UK from Kenya and Mauritius, said he had “no qualms” about seeking to reduce immigration, saying: “This is a common argument put forward by the left, that because of the color of my skin and my heritage I have to think a certain way and I can’t state certain truths about immigration,” adding that she would be “delighted” to annoy the left on immigration.

Under the previous government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the UK implemented a points-based immigration system, which was supposed to be confusing from the Australian model.

Crucially, however, there were no fixed caps on the post-Brexit reforms, meaning that while immigration from the European Union fell, more immigrants came from the rest of the world. The move was widely seen as a “betrayal” of the Brexit movement and resulted in a record 1.1 million visas being issued to foreigners last year alone.

Braverman said she would specifically seek to reduce the number of visas issued for workers and students in order to curb net immigration, saying, “I think we need to look more closely at the type of workers coming into this country, frankly we have too many many low-skilled workers, I think we should focus on attracting highly skilled workers. I think we have too many students coming into this country who are supporting substandard courses in inadequate institutions and I think poor universities are funded by foreign students.”

He also said foreign students or low-skilled workers should not be allowed to bring family members into the country under chain dependent immigration programs, saying such areas are the “leverages” where the government can quickly move to reduce immigration.

The Home Secretary’s strong comments were welcomed by UK Migration Observatory President Alp Mehmet, who said in comments provided to Breitbart London: “Well done Ms Braverman for having the courage to commit to reducing immigration. It is what the majority of the public have wanted since 2010. None of the three immediate predecessors of the Home Secretary committed to reducing net immigration in the clear, unequivocal way that she expressed. All her congratulations.”

Although the full figures from last year’s census, including demographics, have not yet been made publicly available, the government has revealed that the population of England and Wales has reached an all-time high of 67 million, with the Office for National Statistics (ONS ) admitting that population growth was mostly a result of immigration.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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