VIA The Australian
British Prime Minister Theresa May will crack down on immigration from outside the EU as she unveils the Conservative Party’s manifesto.
Mrs May was expected to promise to “bear down on immigration from outside the EU” by asking firms to pay more to hire migrant workers as she launched her manifesto overnight for the June 8 general election.
She would announce extra costs for employers choosing to hire non-EU workers for skilled jobs by doubling the Skills Charge, the BBC reported.
Under the current scheme, small firms pay £364 ($633) a year in Skills Charge, while medium-to-large ones pay up to £1000. Migrant workers will be also be asked to pay more to use the National Health Service, according to the BBC. The revenue generated will fund skills training for British workers.
Mrs May hopes the new measures will curb immigration from outside the EU to tens of thousands a year, a pledge the Conservatives have made and failed to fulfil for the past seven years.
In the year to last September, immigration to Britain was estimated to be 596,000, of which 257,000 were non-EU citizens, according to the official statistics agency. Net migration — the difference between the number of immigrants and the number of emigrants — stood at 273,000.
“When immigration is too fast and too high, it is difficult to build a cohesive society,” Mrs May was expected to say.
She was also expected to commit to reducing immigration from the EU once Britain’s divorce from the bloc is finalised.
“This means the end of freedom of movement,” sources were quoted as saying by the BBC.
Mrs May has repeatedly said Britain as a whole is pulling out of the single market in order to be able to limit immigration from other parts of the EU. This is in contrast to the centrist Liberal Democrats party which yesterday promised to keep Britain in the European single market and continue freedom of movement.
The party launched its manifesto before an EU flag and promised to hold a Brexit referendum, as it seeks to win pro-Europe votes in next month’s national election.
Running a distant third place in opinion polls, the Liberal Democrats are styling themselves as the party of the 48 per cent who voted last year to remain in the EU.
“You should have the say over whether Theresa May’s Brexit deal is right for you, right for your family, in a referendum,” leader Tim Farron said.
“And if you don’t like that deal, you should have the choice to remain in the European Union,” he said.
The Lib Dems have pledged to hold a referendum on the final Brexit deal following two years of negotiations between London and Brussels.