In his first speech on immigration since the General Election, David Cameron discussed the Government's plans to control immigration ahead of the Queen's Speech.

Below is a summary of some of the key points raised in his speech, which may impact on our business immigration clients:

  • it remains the Conservative Party’s ambition to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands;
  • training British workers is a priority, therefore lowering the number of skilled workers required to come to the UK;
  • the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) will be commissioned to advise on significantly reducing the level of economic migration from outside the EU;
  • the Government will seek to limit the length of time professions can be classed as having shortages;
  • it will be made illegal for employment agencies to recruit solely from abroad without advertising those jobs in Britain and in English.

The Prime Minister also stated that an Immigration Taskforce, which he will chair, will be set up to ensure that the new immigration policies are enforced.

Despite the tough stance in the Prime Minister’s speech, he did acknowledge the benefits migrants have brought to the country, and was quick to stress that this new approach to immigration will not “stop us from rolling out the red carpet for the brightest and the best”.

The Queen’s Speech

Echoing many of David Cameron’s words, the Queen's Speech was delivered on 27 May 2015, marking the formal start of the parliamentary year. The proposals that are likely to have either a direct or indirect impact on UK immigration include:

  • measures to reduce regulation on small businesses so that they can create jobs. New duties will require ministers to report annually on job creation and apprenticeships in the UK’s effort to attain the highest employment in the G7 and create 3 million more apprenticeships. Details on how sponsoring organisations and migrant workers may be impacted have not yet been released;
  • measures to control immigration;
  • a renegotiation of the UK’s relationship with the EU and a pursuit of EU reform. Alongside this, early legislation will be introduced to provide for an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union before the end of 2017;
  • proposals for a British Bill of Rights. It appears that the outright “scrapping” of the Human Rights Act has been replaced with proposals for a British Bill of Rights, with legislation expected following consultations;
  • an enhanced partnership between the UK and India and China. It will be interesting to see if any immigration benefits arise as a result.

It remains to be seen whether the proposed tough stance on immigration provides a fairer immigration system or in fact deters the “brightest and the best” from coming to the UK.