Britain to tighten management of immigration system

14:10, November 06, 2010      

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Home Secretary Theresa May vowed to crack down on immigration abuse Friday, saying Britain would tighten management of the immigration system.

In her first major speech on immigration policy, May said public confidence had been undermined by individual stories of the system being abused.

She said the points-based system alone was not sufficient. Consistent management of all aspects of the immigration system was required.

May said family visas accounted for nearly a fifth of non-EU migration and 40,00 marriage visas were issued in 2009.

From Nov. 29, people applying for marriage visas will have to demonstrate a minimum standard of English. "As well as tackling abuse of the marriage route, we need to ensure that those who come here can integrate successfully into society and play a part in their local community," she said.

Net migration stood at 196,000 in 2009. The new coalition government has promised at least to halve this figure by 2015.

In June, the Home Office introduced a temporary limit of 24,100 work visas for non-EU citizens while permanent measures will be brought in from April 2011.

There are serious concerns that the British government's plan to cap immigration will hamper business. May said, "We can reduce net migration without damaging our economy. We can increase the number of high value migrants: the entrepreneurs, the investors, the research scientists -- at the same time as we reduce the total number of people coming to Britain through the economic routes."

But she said the limit should change annually in response to changing economic and social conditions as British Prime Minister David Cameron announced this week that intra-company transfers would be exempted from the cap.



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