Effects of immigration 'too fast' in some parts of UK, says minister
Thursday March 27 2008
A government minister today said that the effects of immigration were moving too quickly for some areas of the UK and local services were being put under pressure.
Speaking in an interview with the BBC, Liam Byrne, the immigration minister, said that although there were some parts of the country, notably the north-east of England, and Scotland, that wanted immigration to boost their populations, generally its impact needed more control.
“There have been communities in different parts of the country where the pace of change has been too fast and transitional pressure has been put on public services,” he said on The World at One.
“We do need a new balance in migration policy,” he added.
The effects of globalisation are now being felt outside the country's main cities. Cumbria police recently revealed that its budget for interpreters had risen 386% since 2003 and schools across the country are having to provide for pupils speaking a variety of languages other than English.
A recent study compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) predicted that a record number of highly skilled migrant workers, such as teachers, will enter Britain over the next four years, contributing an estimated 77bn to the economy.
The CEBR report forecast that there would be 812,000 such migrants in the UK by 2012, a 14% increase on the 715,000 recorded last year.
Migrants added 6bn to the British economy in 2006 and their impact was a net benefit to the country as a whole, said Byrne.
But the minister said that the UK had no need for low-skilled workers coming from outside of the EU.
A points-based system for migrants wishing to come to the UK was introduced at the beginning of this month.
But the government has not said when the system for low-skilled workers will come into effect, meaning that in practice low-skilled workers from outside the EU will not be allowed entry for the foreseeable future.
The new regime involves tougher penalties for employers who employ illegal immigrants.
But it also simplifies the system used to determine whether foreigners are allowed into the country to work.
This, along with the economic downturn, will deter some migrants from moving to the UK, the minister said.