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Taking Back Control – The Trajectory of UK Immigration Policy?

A new report from The Centre for Policy Studies, in part written by former Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick, proposes that current levels of immigration are unsustainable and recommends a drastic overhaul of policy.

Back in December 2023, MP Robert Jenrick resigned from his position as Immigration Minister, citing “strong disagreements” with the Government over the Rwanda migrant plan, and stating that the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill “does not go far enough”.

Now, together with fellow Conservative MP Neil O’Brien and Westminster think tank The Centre for Policy Studies, Mr Jenrick has produced a report on UK immigration titled “Taking Back Control – Why Britain needs a better approach to immigration”.

The report begins by setting out recent migratory and demographic trends, before arguing that these current levels of migration have, and will continue to, put a significant strain on the UK’s infrastructure, housing, and public services, outweighing any potential economic benefit.

In particular, the report suggests that migrants of certain origins offer more to the UK economy than others. For example, according to the report, migrants from the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey aged 25-64 are almost twice as likely to be economically inactive as someone in the same age range born in the UK. Additionally, the report claims that migrants from France and America earn around double what migrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh do on average, meaning that they also make significantly higher tax contributions.

The report proceeds to recommend several courses of action designed to reduce immigration. These include:

  • Abolishing the Graduate visa route entirely.
  • Abolishing the Immigration Salary List (which recently replaced the Shortage Occupation List).
  • Increasing visa route salary thresholds in line with inflation.
  • Capping the number of Health and Care visas at around 30,000.
  • Capping the number of visas available under each visa route annually, with caps to be decided by Parliament as part of an annual Migration Budget.
  • Splitting the Home Office into a Department of Border Security and immigration Control and a Department for Policing and National Security.

Mr Jenrick and Mr O’Brien claim that many of these recommendations can be implemented this year. The report appears designed to put further pressure on British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to adopt a stricter approach to immigration, in line with the wishes of the right-wing of the Conservative party, which includes Mr Jenrick and former Home Secretary Suella Braverman. It remains to be seen whether the Government will embrace the report and its recommendations, in anticipation of the General Election later this year. You can read the full report here.

The Taking Back Control report adds to the current uncertainty around the future of UK immigration policy. If you would like immigration law advice, please get in touch at [email protected]