Tories Could Drop ‘Tens of Thousands’ Immigration Target After Brexit

Dr. Liam Fox
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty
LIAM DEACON

Liam Fox, the leading Brexiteer and International Trade Secretary, has hinted the Tory government could drop their target to slash immigration below 100,000 a year and introduce a two-tiered immigration system with Brexit.

The longstanding target, brought in by former Prime Minister David Cameron, has been called unenforceable because of open border rules with the European Union (EU).

Some who voted for Brexit hoped it would be honoured after Brexit when the UK takes back control of its borders.

However, in an interview Monday, Mr Fox was unenthusiastic about the target and suggested it could be reviewed rather than enforced after the divorce.

“Naturally, as a member of the cabinet, I support the government’s policy,” he told LBC radio Monday. “But I think we do need to look in the future at how we match our employment opportunities with our migration policy.”

Mr Cameron made the pledge in 2010 when Theresa May was home secretary. As prime minister, she preserved the target in last year’s Conservative Party manifesto despite net migration rising to 282,000 in 2017.

Pushed on if he thought the policy was correct, Dr Fox told LBC: “Well, that is the government’s target at the moment. We will be reviewing what we do post-Brexit.”

During the radio interview, Dr Fox also said he favours a two-tier immigration system after Brexit, giving an advantage to those who want to come to the UK because they have a job offer.

“I think the public can differentiate between people who come here with a job and will be contributing to the economy and those who under free movement were able to come to the United Kingdom and use our public services without ever having contributed to them,” he said

Adding: “We need to look in the future at how we match our employment opportunities with our migration policy,” suggesting he favoured a two-tier system.

Since the vote to leave the EU over two years ago, immigration from the bloc has begun to fall, however, the number of people arriving from the rest of the world is at its highest level in 13 years.

Official figures suggest Britain’s population passed 66 million in 2017, with the majority of the growth coming from immigration.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.