Immigration should be restricted, say MPs
Immigration should be restricted until unemployment has more than halved, a cross-party group of MPs will say today.
By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent
Published: 7:30AM BST 31 Mar 2010
The call from Frank Field and Nicholas Soames comes as Gordon Brown prepares to offer voters more tough rhetoric on immigration in an attempt to appeal to Conservative supporters.
Mr Field, a Labour MP, and Mr Soames, a Conservative, lead the Cross-Party Group on Balanced Migration.
They will today publish an open letter to the leaders of the main three parties, saying none of them is tough enough on immigration.
In our view, mass immigration at present levels generates unacceptable pressures on housing and public services; it also poses a threat to our environment, our quality of life and our social cohesion, the MPs said.
Immigration is one of the British publics major concerns yet none of the major parties has a sufficiently firm policy on immigration just days away from a General Election campaign.
The two MPs set out a detailed programme of policies they said all parties should adopt in order to reflect what they said was the public mood on the issue.
The current points-based system for admitting economic migrants should be tightened for as long as unemployment in Britain exceeds 1 million.
Unemployment currently stands at 2.45 million.
The parties should also clamp down on the abuse of student visas, suspend rules allowing skilled people to enter Britain without a job to come to and force applicants for visas to provide evidence of health insurance before entry.
All economic migrant should also be required to undergo an English language test with British officials in their country of origin, the MPs said.
The parties should also promise to step up efforts to expel illegal immigrants, they said.
Mr Brown will on Wednesday discuss immigration in a speech in London, claiming that Labour is the party with the toughest position on the issue.
The Prime Minister at the weekend said that immigration can lead to unfairness and accused some migrants of taking advantage of the freedom and opportunities we offer without making a fair contribution or playing by the rules.
As part of his efforts to appeal to centre-ground voters and change his partys image, David Cameron has largely avoided talking about immigration.
Some Conservative MPs privately worry that leaves the issue open to Labour and other parties, and could lead some natural Tory voters to abandon the party.
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