Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Thursday, 18 November 2010

Field presents five-point plan to reduce immigration

A five-point plan to reduce Britain's immigration levels has been presented to the House of Commons.

Opening a debate on immigration on 18 November 2010, Labour MP and co-chair of the all-party group on balanced migration Frank Field urged the government to clamp down on the number of people arriving in the UK on student visas, without work, after having been transferred within a company, to be with their spouses, and the number of people who stay in the UK after their studies are finished to look for work.

Successive governments had been "negligent" in failing to foresee the impact of an open borders policy on immigration, he said, adding that the electorate felt "let down" by politicians for opting for such an approach without a public debate.

The issue was about "numbers" not principles, he told MPs, and that the latest figures showed there was "a record level" of 3.8 million immigrant workers in the country - despite there having been "a fall of 180,000 British workers at work in the labour market" over the last period.

The coalition government has pledged to reduce net migration into Britain - which stood at 196,000 last year - to the "tens of thousands", by capping the number of skilled workers entering the UK from outside the European Economic Area.

The debate fell on the same day that government experts suggested the number of migrant workers coming to the UK from outside the EU should be cut by between 13% and 25% next year.

But businesses have raised concerns that the cap could could leave them at a competitive disadvantage.

Watch the second part of the debate here.

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