Nigel Farage has said that the Conservative government must use its new immigration policy to reduce migration or it will fail to live up to its Brexit pledge of ‘taking back control’.
On Wednesday, the government announced its new immigration policy which will be used equally for visa applicants from all over the world — including the EU — from January 1st, 2021.
Secretary of State for the Home Department Priti Patel said: “We’re ending free movement, taking back control of our borders and delivering on the people’s priorities by introducing a new UK points-based immigration system, which will bring overall migration numbers down.
“We will attract the brightest and the best from around the globe, boosting the economy and our communities, and unleash this country’s full potential.”
While Farage called home secretary Patel’s announcement “a major step in the right direction”, he said he was “concerned that the bar has been set too low”.
Writing in The Telegraph, the Brexit Party leader said: “The Migration Advisory Committee had recommended a minimum salary of £30,000 per year. That figure has been cut to £25,600 per year, presumably after some lobbying. Furthermore, educational requirements have also been downgraded. More assurances should also be sought urgently when it comes to migrants’ criminal records. The public document, at this stage, is far too vague.”
Notionally lowered to £25,600 for secured job offers, The Times reported that that salary could drop to £23,000 for migrants who can make up points to compensate for not reaching the threshold wage. Certain skilled workers may only need a salary of £20,480. Some migrants may not even need to have secured a job offer at all if they are young and considered ‘talented’, according to The Telegraph.
Migration Watch UK criticised the immigration plans, saying it shows the government is “not serious” about reducing the number of migrant workers in the country.
“Not only will millions of UK workers see their jobs opened up to new or greater competition from overseas workers in much poorer countries but employers will no longer have to look to find anyone at home before searching abroad,” Migration Watch UK chairman Alp Mehmet said.
Speculating how the immigration landscape will change in coming years, Mr Farage said that he believed “non-EU migration will rise sharply as a result of the new points system”. He also warned that rising population concerns — with the UK population set to hit 70 million in a decade, three-quarters driven by immigration — and Britons seeing “the pressure on their lives mounting through overpopulation” will result in “widespread disenchantment that Boris Johnson’s government has not lived up to expectations”.
“I am convinced that a tangible decline in people’s quality of life thanks to rapid and ill-thought-through immigration levels led to the Brexit vote,” Mr Farage wrote.
Continuing, he said: “What big business, the media and most MPs either cannot or will not understand is that immigration is primarily a matter linked inextricably to people’s quality of life. It is about being able to book a GP appointment in good time; it is about securing a place for a child in a local primary school; it is about the ability of younger generations to scale the housing ladder; and, yes, it is about our roads being less crowded so that people can get to work on time.”
“The debate around immigration is nowhere near an end. The idea of taking back control is wonderful. Exercising control is another matter altogether and when it comes to immigration, it must be the government’s priority,” he concluded.