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'Everyone seems to have an opinion on immigration'


Home Office minister Damian Green on the coalition government’s plans for reducing immigration, and the impact on the NHS.

Britain is rightly proud of the rich, cultural mix of citizens who make it successful and this coalition government recognises just how important migration is.

However, as with all good things, too much of anything can start to erode away at the benefits.

For this reason the government believes there needs to be controls on immigration into the UK.

We of course still want to continue to attract the brightest and the best people to the UK, but unlimited migration places unacceptable pressure on public services, school places, and the provision of housing, all of which can cause problems for local communities.

Our plan is to reduce net migration, which is the number of people who enter the UK minus the number who leave, and take it back to the levels of the 1990s - tens of thousands, not the hundreds of thousands it has been recently.

This is not an easy task, but one of the ways we plan to achieve it is by introducing a limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants given permission to live and work here each year.

Before a system is introduced the government is committed to consulting with businesses to find the best way of achieving this. 

Your industry could be affected by this plan. We launched a 12 week consultation on 28 June, and want to hear from anyone who believes they have something to say on how a limit should work in practice.

We understand that annual limits will only work in reducing net migration if employers are supported to employ workers living in the UK in place of those from outside the EU.

This means the Government, will be investing in training and empowering British workers to bring them into jobs and sectors which have been too reliant on migrant labour.

High levels of net migration are a relatively recent phenomenon. From the late 1990s immigration grew significantly, peaking at 245,000 in 2004. 

A careful balance is needed to reverse this current trend and this consultation asks crucial questions.

How could limits be implemented and what additional government action is needed to support employers find alternatives to migrant labour?

The government has called on the Migration Advisory Committee to consult further or what the limit should be, taking into account social and economic concerns.

Any limit set must allow the government to make sure the UK is getting the brightest and best people.

This Government has made a pledge to cut migration into the UK but as business leaders, it is crucial we hear your voices.

Get involved

If you have something to say and want to help us shape this policy click here to take part in the consultation.

The Migration Advisory Committee’s consultation on the final limit can be found by clicking here.


Readers' comments (7)

  • I agree wholeheartedly with significantly reducing and controlling immigration.

    First of all I would like to say that Nursing is one of the few professions that should always be open to migrants, it is a valued key skill, and Nurses from any country can bring in that valued role to this country. That should always be the case.

    However, I agree with controlling the numbers solely because of the lack of jobs at the moment. It is extremely difficult for British Nurses to find work upon qualifying, and that is wrong, especially when posts are often being filled by migrants under a seperate remit.

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  • It's actually very easy of british nurses to find jobs. NHS jobs lists thousands of nursing vacancies every day. You may have to leave the town you grew up in to get one.

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  • >How could limits be implemented and what additional government action is needed to support employers find alternatives to migrant labour?

    How about stop wasting money training nurses for them to leave the profession because working for many NHS employers is like life in a workhouse circa 1890? Churn. Just a wee thought.

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  • Anonymous | 25-Jul-2010 10:38 pm I'm sorry but that is absolute rubbish.

    There may be plenty of vacancy's, but how many Nurses are going for each one? How many are suitable for newly qualified Nurses?

    I know many 'newly' or rather recently qualified Nurses who are doing a variety of jobs from Tesco's to office work because they are struggling to get a staff Nurse post.

    One of my local trusts recently held a trust wide recruitment drive, well over 400 people were invited for interview (and that was after a lot had been weeded out at the exam phase), they hired about 30.

    Hardly plenty of jobs is it?

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  • Why are this country training overseas nurses who obviously do not have basic communication skills in the English language. This surely should be taken into consideration, I love living in a multi-cultural society but speaking and documenting to a high standard is a basic need in the nursing profession so perhaps it would be a good idea to check this out first.

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  • Anonymous | 27-Jul-2010 11:46 am, that is a serious issue. The majority of Nurses from a wide variety of country's I have worked with have excellent spoken and written English and their Nursing skills are top notch so there is no problem. However I have also worked with one or two who could barely speak English and really struggled to communicate with staff or patients. This was absolutely wrong and they should not have been allowed to work.

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  • To Anonymous | 25-Jul-2010 10:38 pm

    It is not always possible for newly qualified nurses to move from 'the town we grew up in' - we are not all 21 at qualification with no ties to the area.

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