• Thursday, July 25, 2024


Tory think tank moots steep cut in student visas

The Onward report points out that mass migration undermines the wages of resident workers and disincentivises automation

Photo: iStock

By: Shajil Kumar

A CONSERVATIVE party think tank has recommended a series of measures, including radical changes in immigration rules, to reduce net migration to ‘sustainable’ levels, The Times reports.

The think tank, Onward, wants only the best-performing universities to be allowed to issue visas to foreign students, and admit only those migrants who make a “net fiscal contribution”.

The current level of net migration of more than 700,000 people a year “disincentivises automation and paying UK workers properly”.

The report, endorsed by housing secretary Michael Gove, recommends abolishing graduate visas with limited exemptions for those with very high skills, and only allowing the best-performing institutions to sponsor visas for students studying for PHDs.

It calls for the repurposing of low-quality universities to focus on vocational and technical education.

The report also recommends increasing the minimum salary threshold for foreign workers to encourage employers to hire British workers.

During the past decade, more than 102,000 applied to stay in Britain after initially being allowed to enter on a temporary basis. Pakistan was the largest nationality among claimants, with nearly 17,400 cases, followed by Bangladesh with just under 11,000, it said.

The Onward report points out that mass migration undermines the wages of resident workers, disincentivises automation and undermines the boundaries of the contributory welfare state.

The report also calls for the “reindustrialisation” of Britain as part of a “full spectrum reform” of economic policy.

It says that British workers are being treated poorly and the government should focus on putting the national interest first rather than “global financial markets or hostile trading partners”.

The report suggests that people should be encouraged to save in British assets and the tax system should provide more support to families with children.

In his forward, Gove said, “This report lays out a vision for a radical, reformed approach towards British economic policy. It makes an invaluable contribution to the conversation we need to have about Britain’s next steps forward. I look forward to the debate it will stimulate.”

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