Two million immigrants from outside the E.U. have settled in Britain under Labour, claim Tories
By Matthew Hickley
Last updated at 9:28 AM on 28th October 2008
Two million immigrants from outside the European Union have settled in Britain since Labour came to power representing more than 80 per cent of all immigration here, the Tories will claim today.
While Britain has no control over population movement within the EU, Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve will highlight the scale of immigration from beyond Europe as evidence for the Tory policy of an annual cap.
Labour ministers have rejected calls for a cap on immigration, claiming instead that their new points-based visa system will limit arrivals from outside Europe while allowing in the skilled foreign labour which the British economy needs.
Two million immigrants have settled in the UK since Labour came to power (file photo)
In a speech to the Confederation of British Industry conference on immigration Mr Grieve will discuss the most recent immigration figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Between 1997 when Labour took office, and 2006, the number of foreign citizens living in Britain rose by 2.3million. Of the newcomers, 374,000 came from within the EU taking advantage of rules allowing free movement between member states.
But a far larger number, 1,961,000, came from outside the EU, accounting for 84 per cent of all immigration to the UK.
At the same time the outflow of British citizens leaving was 715,000 larger than numbers returning from abroad.
Net immigration to the UK the number of new arrivals minus those immigrants who choose to leave has risen to unprecedented levels under Labour, from 48,000 in 1997 to more than 200,000 in 2005.
Mr Grieve will tell the CBI conference that the Government's points-based system is 'pointless' without a firm upper limit of the kind promised by the Tories.
He will invite businesses to help devise a system for setting the annual immigration quota.
He will say: 'While we cannot restrict inward EU migration, this would allow us to control migration from outside the EU which is currently around two-thirds of the foreign nationals arriving in the UK each year.'
In the Commons yesterday Mr Grieve piled more pressure on beleaguered immigration minister Phil Woolas, who faced controversy last week when he proposed a cap on immigration to keep the population below 70million but was later forced to backtrack.
He was apparently 'rapped over the knuckles' by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
Mr Grieve accused him of 'losing his independence of thinking' whenever Miss Smith was present, and asked him: 'The Home Secretary has made clear she doesn't support an upper limit. Which is Government policy?'
Mr Woolas responded: 'The points-based system allows the control of migration for workers in a way which will ensure that those trends [in population growth] that we are seeing at the moment do not come into fruition. That is the policy.'
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