British Prime Minister pledges to limit immigration visas

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Following the opposition's announcement of its plans regarding the crucial election issue, the ruling Conservative party on Monday unveiled proposals for new yearly limitations on work and family visas in an effort to reduce immigration.

A new annual cap on the amount of visas issued by parliament would be part of the plan presented by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is expected to lose the July election to Labour's Keir Starmer.

This election, immigration is a hotly debated issue because net migration reached a record high of 685,000 last year, a number both major political parties have claimed is excessive.

Even though it was less than in 2022, net migration in 2019 was still around three times greater than in 2019, the year the Tories won the last election on the platform of drastically reducing immigration.

Over the weekend, Starmer unveiled Labour's ideas to reduce regular migration, including a requirement that companies prioritize training Britons above all else and a prohibition on "bad bosses" who break labor laws from bringing in foreign workers.

In an attempt to differentiate his party from Labour, the prime minister's new policy will be discussed in a head-to-head debate between Starmer and Sunak on Tuesday. This will be the first time the two candidates will argue major subjects throughout their campaigns.

"To reduce the number of immigrants entering this nation, we have made audacious decisions. We are moving forward since the plan is effective but the rate of migration is still too high, according to a statement from Sunak.
"The only party that is willing to take the decisive action required to cut immigration figures is the Conservatives," he continued.

Foreign students and seasonal workers will not be impacted by the yearly cap, which will be gradually lowered each year to reduce the number of migrants.

According to official statistics, more over 300,000 work visas were granted in the year ending in March 2024—more than twice as many as were awarded in 2019.

In an effort to curb normal immigration, the Tory administration has implemented new laws this year that prohibit foreign students and social workers from bringing dependents and raise the minimum wage requirement for skilled worker visas.

Care providers have warned that the industry is having difficulty filling tens of thousands of positions, despite the fact that the tougher requirements resulted in a sharp drop in the number of health and social care visa applications in May, according to information from the interior ministry.

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home minister for Labour, called the new strategy a "meaningless announcement."

The administration has also focused on irregular migration by sending unsuccessful asylum applicants to Rwanda under its flagship program, which Sunak has acknowledged won't be put into effect before the election.

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