Nigel Farage has announced his party’s new immigration policy, promising to abolish quotas and bring in a points system like that used in Australia. The UKIP leader said immigration was too high, and discriminated against skilled workers from the Commonwealth in favour of unskilled migrants from the EU.
The announcement was made in Westminster in front of UKIP members and journalists. Farage also toured the TV studios and set-out the reasons for the new policy in the Daily Telegraph. He said he would take the power to decide who came into the UK out of the hands of politicians and instead create an “ethical visa system” administered by a much larger Border Service.
The whole system would be overseen by a whole new body called the Migration Control Commission. They would come up with the criteria by which the points system worked.
Visas would be issued based on the points system, and would favour those with skills that are in short supply in the UK. Farage said he felt passionately about a fair immigration system because his own family were Huguenot Protestant refugees from France. But he also pointed out the total number of Huguenots who came to the UK was 50,000 over a hundred year period.
He said he wanted the new system to control “both the quantity and the quality” of those entering the country. Farage also pledged to abolish benefits for anyone who had not paid taxes in the UK for at least five years.
Farage told the Telegraph: “We believe that migration into the United Kingdom is too high. It’s affecting the NHS. It affects policing, school places, infrastructure, wages, and the make-up of local communities. This is why Ukip wants to see a Migration Control Commission – with a remit to bring down net immigration, while assuring the right number of highly skilled workers from across the globe are able to enter.”
He continued: “Ukip wants to ensure that highly skilled people from the Commonwealth – from India, Canada, New Zealand, and beyond – get a fair chance to get into Britain, unlike now, where we give precedence, via our open border with the European Union, to half a billion people from Europe and its former Communist countries.”
UKIPs policy announcement came just days after it was shown David Cameron had failed in his pledge to get annual net migration into the “tens of thousands”. Net migration rose under the coalition from just under two-hundred thousand in 2009 to nearly three-hundred thousand last year. The figures also showed the total number of immigrants arriving in the UK every year now stands at 620,000.
Farage said: “Ukip believes in Britain. And we believe that since 1997, immigration has become out of control. We’ll put that control back at the heart of our sovereign democracy – and we’ll do it fairly.”