The Election 2024 and Immigration Policy

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Why a Better Immigration System will help Build the Economy, and Improve Communities and Lives

With the general election finally upon us, the esteemed political parties of the UK are in the final stages of the race to win public support, each promising that they, and only they, can make the system better. The nation's televisions resound with predictions and punditry, and social media is awash with grievance and opinion.  

Immigration is a hot topic for each of the major political parties, specifically the increase in the number of immigrants entering into the UK over the past two decades. Some have sought to control it, others have fought against imposing limits on the number of migrants. Despite the best efforts of our political leaders however, the current state of immigration affairs is chaotic.

What does each party specifically offer to the Immigration System?

Firstly, none of the political party election manifestos speak about the following:

  • Reintroducing Investor visas, Entrepreneur visas and Representative of Overseas Business visas, that give opportunity to people with economic resources to enter the UK and contribute towards the country's economy by way of investment.
  • Not increasing the minimum income threshold for Spouse and Unmarried Partner visas – and not taking into consideration that not every British National, Indefinite Leave to Remain holder or individual with Settled Status has an annual income of £29,000 p/a; or indeed potential incomes of £34,500 p/a (proposed threshold from November 2024) or £38,700 p/a (proposed threshold from early 2025).

So what do they speak about?

The Conservative party aims to control immigration numbers by cutting migration. They will be introducing much stricter immigration rules and want to ensure they attract the brightest and best students and skilled migrants to study in the UK’s world class educational institutions and to contribute to the nation's businesses and public services. This move aims to reduce migration numbers to sustainable levels, to mitigate the impact on public services and housing, and restore public confidence in the system. The Conservatives suggest that they will not allow any free movement.

The Labour party wants to attract people to the UK who can work and make a substantial contribution to the economy, public services and the community. They plan to reform the 'points based' system so that it is fair and properly managed, with appropriate restrictions on visas, a policy linking immigration to skills and a zero-tolerance approach to employers or recruitment agencies abusing the visa system. Labour also aims to end the long-term reliance on overseas workers by bringing in a workforce, and implementing training plans in the health, social care and construction sectors of the UK economy.

The Liberal Democrats want to transfer immigration policy, moving work visas and overseas student visas out of the Home Office and into other departments. They aim to tackle the asylum backlog by establishing dedicated units to improve the speed and quality of asylum decision-making, by introducing a service standard of three months processing time for all but the most complex asylum claims, and by speeding up returns of those without a right to stay. The Liberal Democrats also plan to lift bans on asylum seekers working if they have been waiting on a decision for more than three months, thereby enabling them to better support themselves, integrate into their communities and contribute to the economy.

The scales are currently unbalanced, tipping towards asylum seekers and refugees as opposed to immigrants wishing to come to the UK to work or establish businesses. Whether these scales regain their balance with a fair and practical immigration policy remains to be seen; but time, and the results of today's election, will tell.

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If you would like further advice on this or any other immigration matter, please contact Nagesh Jain directly below.

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