Newham Recorder Big Debate: Should the government guarantee a lowering of net migration after Brexit?

On Monday the House of Lords warned that a hard Brexit's end to free movement might not cut net migration.

But before the Brexit vote, when Prime Minister Theresa May was Home Secretary, she committed to lowering net migration.

This week's Big Debate asks if the government should guarantee a lowering of net migration in light of Brexit.

Emily Knight - Organising Secretary of West Ham Conservatives

Immigration has always been a contentious political issue, and that was certainly the case during the recent referendum campaign in Newham, with large numbers of first and second generation migrants expressing their anger at the UK’s two-tier system which gives a free pass to (predominantly white) EU citizens, but places limits and rules on everyone else. There was a strong appetite on the doorstep for a fair, meritocratic system.

Present policy is to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands. As members of the EU we cannot place limits on the number of EU citizens arriving or require that they have employment. The target will not be met until we have left the EU and can shape a policy that is fair to everyone. The UK has always welcomed migrants, and many sectors of our economy rely on an immigrant workforce. Brexit will not change that, nor should it, but it will allow us to create a transparent system, which looks at the skills and connections potential immigrants have, rather than the country they are from.

Whilst the migration target remains in place for now, the Government has indicated that a new Bill will through next year and be in place by the time we have left the EU, which will hand new powers to the independent Migration Advisory Committee, who will determine the number of visas to be issued each year for workers in key industries reliant on immigrants such as health and social care, farming and hospitality. Then the UK will have an immigration policy reactive to our needs as a nation, whilst ensuring applicants are all treated equally.