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Thursday, 18 May 2017

Manifesto plans will see firms pay more for hiring migrants in immigration crackdown

Written by David Hughes

The Tory manifesto will keep the commitment to reducing net migration the "tens of thousands", with Theresa May setting out a series of measures aimed at getting the numbers down.

The manifesto will double the charge levied on firms employing migrants, and increase the amount paid by migrant workers and international students to fund their use of the NHS.

The document, being launched on Thursday, will argue that "when immigration is too fast and too high, it is difficult to build a cohesive society" and that with annual net migration standing at 273,000, "immigration to Britain is still too high".

The Prime Minister is clear that leaving the European Union will mean the end of freedom of movement, but as well as seeking to capitalise on Brexit to curb the numbers coming to the UK, the manifesto promises "to bear down on immigration from outside the Europe Union" across all visa routes.

The immigration skills charge levied on some firms employing migrant workers will double to £2,000 a year per employee by 2022 so "we can invest more in workers in the UK".

The current charge is set at £1,000 per employee per year and is levied on employers that employ migrants in skilled areas.

There will also be an increase in the immigration health surcharge, to £600 for migrant workers and £450 for international students, to cover their use of the NHS.

Despite Cabinet splits on the issue, overseas students will remain in the immigration statistics and within scope of the government's migration target.

The commitments on immigration come after the newspaper edited by former chancellor George Osborne said that none of Mrs May's senior ministers supported the "economically illiterate" net migration target.

The London Evening Standard editorial said Mrs May's top ministers had thought she would use the election to "bury the pledge" because the target had never been met.

"That's what her Cabinet assumed; none of its senior members supports the pledge in private and all would be glad to see the back of something that has caused the Conservative Party such public grief," the newspaper said.

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