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Immigration/Emmigration

Theresa May slaps down Boris on his plans for an Australian-style migrant point system

  • Mrs May said she was not convinced the migration control method worked 
  • She indicated she would move away from the Australian-style system 
  • PM ducked questions over calls for NHS to get cash boost from Brexit  
In a putdown to her Foreign Secretary, Mrs May said she was not convinced the migration control method worked
In a putdown to her Foreign Secretary, Mrs May said she was not convinced the migration control method worked

Theresa May yesterday rubbished Boris Johnson’s proposed Australian-style points system for immigration into the UK, saying it was not a ‘silver bullet’ solution.

In a putdown to her Foreign Secretary, Mrs May said she was not convinced the migration control method worked – and indicated she will not introduce it after Brexit.

The Prime Minister also refused to say whether Brexit would mean a complete end to all contributions to the EU budget, saying she did not want to reveal her ‘negotiating hand’ ahead of talks with Brussels.

And she ducked questions about whether the NHS could expect a £100 million-a-week financial boost from Brexit or whether she would slash VAT on fuel.

The idea of a points-based immigration system was a central plank in Vote Leave’s campaign to take Britain out of the EU, and has been backed by five serving Cabinet ministers.

At the height of the referendum campaign, Mr Johnson, International Development Secretary Priti Patel and former Justice Secretary Michael Gove launched a mini-manifesto pledging to introduce the Australian-style system after Brexit.

Former Cabinet ministers Iain Duncan Smith and Theresa Villiers have called for the introduction of a similar system.

But Mrs May yesterday indicated she had no intention of allowing them to keep their promise.

Speaking to reporters on a flight to the G20 summit in China, she said she was determined to bring down migrant numbers in the wake of the Brexit vote. But she added: ‘A lot of people talk about a points-based system always being the answer to immigration.

The idea of a points-based immigration system was a central plank in Vote Leave¿s campaign to take Britain out of the EU, and has been backed by five serving Cabinet minister.

Theresa May appointed Boris as her Foreign Secretary when she formed her cabinet 

‘There is no single silver bullet that is the answer in terms of dealing with immigration.

‘You have to look across the board. You have to look at the whole range of issues – not just how you bring control, but also making sure you’re rooting out the problems in the system. And obviously dealing with people if they’re discovered here illegally.’

Immigration is set to be a key talking point today when Mrs May holds one-to-one talks with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, both of whom are concerned about restrictions on visas to study and work in the UK.

Australia’s tough immigration points system is credited with keeping numbers under control while ensuring the country’s economy can access the skills it needs.

Visas for skilled workers are points-tested according to the need for their skills in the Australian economy.

Extra points are awarded for factors such as experience, qualifications and age. But critics argue there is no guarantee it would bring numbers down, pointing out that Australia has proportionately higher immigration than the UK.

Mrs May has already ordered Home Secretary Amber Rudd to draw up plans to cut non-EU immigration by clamping down on the three main routes into Britain – student visas, work and family reunions and work.

The Prime Minister has yet to say how she will cut immigration. But her comments yesterday suggest she has abandoned the idea of a points-based system, and will focus instead on some form of work visa system where even skilled migrants have to have a job before they can come to Britain.

Her decision is embarrassing for Mr Johnson and fellow Vote Leave campaigners.

Immigration is set to be a key talking point today when Mrs May holds one-to-one talks with India¿s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping

Launching the policy in June, Mr Johnson said: ‘By the next General Election, we will create a genuine Australian-style points-based immigration system.

‘The automatic right of all EU citizens to come to live and work in the UK will end, as will EU control over vital aspects of our social security system.

‘If we implement these principles, for the first time in a generation it will be possible for politicians to keep their promises on migration.’

Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of Migration Watch UK, backed Mrs May, saying: ‘The way to cut immigration from the European Union is by issuing work permits. If you go for a points-based system it becomes a mindless way of doing it. Nobody can check whether points are being accurately described.

‘We already have a work permit system for non-EU citizens. The way to tackle this is to wrap up EU migrants in the same way. The effect would be that low-skilled migrants would not qualify.’

But Labour MP Chuka Umunna, chairman of Vote Leave Watch, accused the Government of reneging on promises made during the Brexit campaign.

‘Boris Johnson and his Vote Leave colleagues spent the whole referendum campaign making impossible promises,’ he said. ‘Theresa May cannot be let off the hook either.

‘After barely campaigning for Remain, our unelected Prime Minister now contemptuously dismisses policies like increasing spending on the NHS which people voted on in good faith and great numbers.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3773754/Theresa-slaps-Boris-plans-Australian-style-migrant-point-system.html

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