Britain

Tories outline migration rules as Labour shelve free movement plans

The Conservatives have pledged to cut immigration "overall", with the "vast majority" of migrants to be required to have a job offer to come to the UK – regardless of where they are from.

High-skilled scientists and those who want to start a business will be among a small number of exceptions.

Access to benefits will be equalised between EU nationals and those from elsewhere, meaning a typical wait of five years for non-UK citizens, and benefits will no longer be sent abroad to support children outside the UK.

Ministers have already made clear they are finally abandoning the party's long-standing commitment to get net migration down below 100,000 a year – a target they have never met.

The party said the new measures would save around £800m a year by 2024-2025.

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Image: Home Secretary Priti Patel has said migrants will start contributing 'on day one'

Announcing the plans, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "One of the benefits of Brexit is that we get to take back control and make our system fairer. A majority Conservative government will ensure that people who come to our great country from anywhere in the world will contribute on day one."

She added: "Immigration will finally be subject to democratic control, allowing us to get overall numbers down."

More from Boris Johnson

A new immigration system that works for UK economy is as important as a new economic relationship with our biggest trading partner 🇪🇺. Business & government need to work together to ensure training of 🇬🇧 workers & an #openandcontrolled immigration system to help the economy grow. https://t.co/fblTdIIUod

— Matthew Fell (@cbimatt) November 16, 2019

The announcement by Ms Patel came following a debate within Labour as to its own immigration policy, with some senior figures in favour of freedom of movement and others wanting to curb it.

But following six hours of talks in London on Saturday, Jeremy Corbyn said there was "unanimous agreement" between his shadow cabinet and key union backers on the party manifesto.

Labour party chairman Ian Lavery told Sky News that discussions were "very amicable" with "very little disagreement at all".

Labour would not comment on reports about the contents of the manifesto, but Sky News' deputy political editor Sam Coates and political correspondent Tom Rayner have been told by sources that Labour have shelved their conference resolution to maintain free movement and will instead renegotiate migration policy with the EU if Britain votes to leave in a second referendum.

Mr Corbyn described the Labour manifesto – expected to be launched on Thursday – as a "transformative document that will change the lives of the people of this country for the better".

Among the policies set to be included are free dental checks for everyone in England, with the party having announced plans to roll back the band one fees introduced in 1951 on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has said that every Tory candidate standing in the general election has agreed to back his Brexit deal in the next parliament.

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