Unwilling British workers has fuelled migration, says minister
The flood of migrant workers in to the UK has been fuelled by too many Britons languishing on the welfare state, the immigration minister said today.
By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor
Published: 7:00AM BST 19 Jul 2010
Damian Green warned the country had gone down a dangerous path by just accepting there are some jobs the British are simply not prepared to do, leaving employers with little choice but to import workers.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he said the twin attack of greater efforts to upskill home-grown staff and the radical shake up of the welfare state will help cut the need for immigration.
It comes as the countrys first ever cap on immigration comes in to the effect today.
The temporary limit will see 1,300 fewer foreign workers allowed in the UK over the next nine month while the Government prepares for a permanent annual limit to be imposed next April.
The aim of the interim restriction, which only affects workers from outside the EU, is to prevent a rush of applications for work permits before the full cap is introduced.
Mr Green echoed concerns that some British workers are too lazy and refuse to do some menial jobs or to work at all.
He said: It is a dangerous path we have gone down where we say that there are some jobs we want done but the British people just will not do them.
Constantly importing people to do the jobs is no way to run a society.
Employers quite reasonably want a good worker and will find a good workforce wherever they are.
The welfare system has allowed over the decades too many people to remain completely disengaged from the world of work and it is not good for them and it is not good for society as a whole.
Along with immigration controls we have to upskill our workforce and run a welfare state that benefits those who need help not those who are exploiting the system.
In an article, Mr Green said the country needed to do better at training up its own workforce while at the same time we face the problem of changing our welfare system so radically that it is no longer possible for the able but unwilling to spend a lifetime on benefits.
He said his simple but important ambition was to remove immigration as one of the ever constant top political issues or public concerns.
Unlimited flows have led to unacceptable pressures on public services, he said, but the times in history where it has not been a top concern have been when it was under control and the British people recognised it was under control.
The Coalition Government has promised to bring net immigration levels down to tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands.
A key part of that will be setting annual caps and ministers are now consulting on how and at what level the limit for migrant workers will be set.
Part of the consultation will look at requiring employers who want to bring in migrant workers to run apprenticeship schemes to train up local workers as well.
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