Conservative manifesto: Firms to pay more to hire migrant workers

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PA

The Tories will promise further measures to curb immigration in their manifesto, the BBC understands.

Firms will be asked to pay more to hire migrant workers and they in turn will be asked to pay more to use the NHS.

Theresa May will make a commitment to bringing immigration down to the tens of thousands target, which has been missed since 2010.

She will warn that “when immigration is too fast and too high, it is difficult to build a cohesive society”.

The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said that the prime minister would put forward an “uncompromising” message that immigration is too high and would come down under her leadership.

The manifesto, which will be published on Wednesday, will promise to “bear down on immigration from outside the EU” across all visa routes.

The prime minister will commit the government to reducing and controlling immigration from Europe after Brexit and sources say she is “clear this means the end of freedom of movement”.

Skills charge

She will announce extra costs for employers who choose to hire non-EU immigrants in skilled jobs by doubling the charge known as the Skills Charge.

The revenue will go into skills training for UK workers. Non-EU migrants will also have to pay more to use the NHS. The manifesto will also rule out removing students from the immigration statistics.

The Immigration Skills Charge, which was introduced in April 2017, is levied on companies that employ migrants in skilled areas.

It applies to immigrants from outside the European Economic Area and is currently set at £1,000 per employee per year, with a reduced rate of £364 for small or charitable organisations.

Under the Conservative proposals, it will double to £2,000 per employee per year.

Migration target

The plan to stick with the net migration target has caused controversy, with critics saying that it will be nearly impossible to meet without doing damage to the economy.

Net migration, the difference between people coming to the UK for more than a year and those leaving, stood at 273,000 in the year to last September. It was last below 100,000 in 1997.

An editorial in Wednesday’s Evening Standard, whose editor is the former Chancellor George Osborne, suggested that in private ministers were dismissive of the target believing it was unrealistic.

The article says the target, set by David Cameron when the Tories were in opposition, was “economically illiterate” and it was a “mystery” why Mrs May was persisting with it.

It urged the prime minister to “sweep away this bad policy from the past”.

Conservative manifesto: Firms to pay more to hire migrant workers}

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