Grantham and Stamford MP seeks end to annual 100,000 migration target
Nick Boles has urged the new Home Secretary scrap government targets to reduce net migration to the UK to below 100,000 a year.
Instead, the Grantham and Stamford MP has recommended Sajid Javid devises an annual budget-style statement based around the needs of the economy and judged by five principles.
Today, the Sun newspaper reported that Mr Boles has written to Mr Javid, an ally of his, setting out his proposals.
In a letter to Mr Javid – seen by The Sun – Mr Boles wrote: “The country will need a new immigration policy once we have left the European Union.
“We have an opportunity to devise an immigration policy that is tough but humane, that serves the interests of British busineses and our public services, while protecting our national security and community cohesion.”
The government has pledged to maintain current migration rules with the European Union until 2020 and existing targets- which it has consistently failed to meet- until 2022.
Recent years have seen around 250,000 more people entering the UK than leaving every year, fuelling rapid population growth. Government figures show the UK had a population of 59.1 million in 200l and 65.7 million in June 2017- up 538,000 on the year before.
The Office for National Statistics predicts the UK population will top 70 million by 2029 though the Migration Watch pressure group believes this will happen in 2026.
The Conservative MP has not said whether his proposal would lead to higher or lower net immigration.
Instead, Mr Boles tweeted today: “We need to scrap the nonsensical net migration target and introduce a tough but humane immigration policy based on 5 principles of immigration control.”
They include only allowing migrants to move to the UK if they fill a skills shortage and have a concrete job offer.
Migrants will only be able to claim benefits and free non-emergency healthcare of they have worked in the UK and paid UK taxes for “several years.”
Family dependents could only come and join migrants if they were able to support them financially and all newcomes would have to show “a reasonable mastery of English.”
Mr Boles also tweeted: “Though @sajidjavid doesn’t waste any time, it may be a little optimistic to think he is studying my ideas for a new immigration policy when I only sent them to him yesterday... but hopefully with the support of @TheSun he now will.”
He added: “Like @WilliamJHague and Ken Clarke I think the time has come for a digital identity scheme so we can impose restrictions on migrants’ access to benefits and public services without heavy-handed enforcement measures.”
Mr Boles’s plan comes in his new book, Square Deal.