LONDON — Britain has too many low-skilled migrant workers and very high numbers of international students, who often brought dependents with them, the country’s new interior minister Suella Braverman said in an interview with The Sun on Sunday newspaper.
Braverman said new Prime Minister Liz Truss’s government aimed to stick to a 2019 election pledge to lower net migration in an interview ahead of the ruling Conservative Party’s annual conference.
Finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng said on Sept. 23 that the government was looking to review immigration policy as part of an attempt to boost growth, following complaints from business groups that post-Brexit rules were too restrictive, especially for low-paid jobs.
However, Braverman said reducing migration was an aim shared by all of Truss’s senior ministers.
“What we’ve got is too many low skilled workers coming into this country,” she said. “We’ve also got a very high number of students coming into this country and we’ve got a really high number of dependents.”
“Those people are coming here, they’re not necessarily working or they’re working in low-skilled jobs, and they’re not contributing to growing our economy,” she added.
Since January 2021, most workers must be paid at least 25,600 pounds ($28,570) a year for an employer to sponsor a visa, causing problems for employers in sectors such as agriculture, hospitality and some manufacturing, where lower wages are common.
Numbers of EU workers have fallen, but this has been offset by an increase in the number of non-EU workers, especially from India. Net migration to Britain totalled 239,000 in the year to June 2021, according to the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Braverman also said she wanted to restrict the ability of migrants to challenge deportation on the basis that they had been subjected to forced labor or human trafficking, known in Britain as “modern slavery.” ($1 = 0.8961 pound) (Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Alexander Smith and Jonathan Oatis)