On a glorious spring day members of the biz club networked in the grounds of Normanton Park Hotel overlooking Rutland Water before retiring inside for luncheon. A delicious three course lunch was enjoyed by all attendees prior to Damian Green speaking to the assembled. The Minister for Immigration spoke about the challenges that they were facing since taking government and that they were looking at all immigration routes and getting them in control.
Damian said that reforming the immigration system and reducing the level of immigration to a sustainable number is one of the big tasks of this Government. The uncontrolled immigration levels of the previous decade led to a loss of public confidence, strain on public services, and an increase in the visibility of extremist politicians holding unpleasant views, seeking to exploit the problem. We need to reverse this, and we are doing just that. We have started by limiting economic migration. In November 2010 we announced a limit of 20,700 skilled workers entering for the 12 months from 6 April. We are raising the minimum skill level and ensuring that all economic migrants have a job offer before they come. He then spoke about students. The majority of non-EU migrants are students but we want to make sure that every student who comes to this country is a legitimate student following a legitimate course.
Damian said his task was to reduce the numbers coming, increase the numbers leaving when their visas are up and to eliminate abuse of the system. He is taking action to tighten our migration system across all entry routes for non EEA-migrants – work, students and family – and to break the link between temporary routes and permanent settlement.
After speaking to the room Damian took questions from the floor before leaving to get a train back to Westminster.