Home   Kent   News   Article

Fears over impact of 'balanced migration' idea

Damian Green MP: "You may want to give yourself a bit more flexibility than saying one in, one out"
Damian Green MP: "You may want to give yourself a bit more flexibility than saying one in, one out"

There are fears that a new idea to introduce a 'balanced migration' system into the country could cause serious problems in workplaces here in Kent, according to one of the county's MPs and a local immigration expert.

A cross-party group of MPs and peers, including former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, today announced their ideas on how to cut immigration.

Estimates show net immigration is at more than 190,000 a year - however, not all will stay permanently.

The group is calling for a drastic cut in those figures and wants only 20,000 non-EU economic migrants to be allowed to settle in the UK permanently per year.

Although Damian Green, shadow immigration minister and Ashford MP, agreed there should be a cap on the number of immigrants, he argued that the idea of 'balanced migration' - where the number of immigrants equals the number of people leaving the country - required more thought.

He said: "It may well be that there are periods where we want to attract the best and the brightest talent from around the world. You may want to give yourself a bit more flexibility than saying one in, one out.

"Highly qualified people can work all over the world these days and if we do not get enough of them in Britain we will start to fall behind.

"We do not want to do anything that makes Britain an unattractive destination for the very best people - there is a risk under the detailed proposals of the cross party group that this could happen."

Migrant Helpline, based in Dover, sees between 500 and 1,000 immigrants each year and offers around 2,000 courses annually on how they can access work and training.

Deputy chief executive, Roy Millard, said we are facing a skills shortage here in Kent and immigrants can fill those gaps, however, like Mr Green, he has concerns over 'balanced migration'.

"Something which acknowledges that people do want to come and do want to work and pay their way and be part of a society has to be better than closing down the argument in terms of just pure numbers in, pure numbers out and in the meantime we can lose those skills and benefits right here in our county."

One area in Kent which could be hit by this is fruit picking, thousands of people come to the county in the summer to work. If farmers can not get the workforce they require inside the European Union they could be forced to look further afield. If this idea is taken up it could cause even more problems for the county’s farmers.

They are already seeing fruit rotting on trees due to new limits on the number of students allowed to work in the UK.

Mr Green told KentOnline: "I advocate an alternative policy. There should be an explicit annual limit, which would be much less than the immigration we have seen in recent years - but that would change from year-to-year to meet the economic conditions of the day."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More