Immigration rules will help stop extremist exploitation, says Damian Green
Tougher immigration rules will make it harder for extremist parties to exploit the issue, Damian Green, the minister overseeing the policy, has said.
By James Kirkup
Published: 7:30AM BST 07 Sep 2010
Mr Green, the immigration minister, said that Coalition plans to cut annual immigration would take the heat out of the political debate on the issue.
He made the comments in a speech setting out more detail on how the governments plans will be implemented.
He said ministers will give priority to improving controls over foreign students and their dependants, more than 300,000 of whom were granted visas last year.
The Home Office has estimated that one in five foreign students given entry visas to study where still in the country five years after completing their courses.
Mr Green said that such apparent abuses of the immigration system makes it easier for extremists to blame legitimate immigrants for social problems.
If the UK does not create public confidence in its immigration system, Mr Green said we will remain vulnerable to those who want to find scapegoats for social problems.
The Coalition will reduce net immigration from outside the EU to tens of thousands, he said. Last year, it was 196,000.
Speaking at the Royal Commonwealth Club, Mr Green said: “We need steady downward pressure on many routes to long-term immigration in order to hit our net migration commitment.
The restriction will relieve pressure on public services, and stop immigration being such a delicate political issue, he said
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