Britain has “too many” low-skilled migrants, says Home Secretary

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LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) – Britain has too many low-skilled migrant workers and a very high number of international students who often brought relatives with them, the country’s new home secretary Suella Braverman said in a interview with The Sun on Sunday newspaper.

Braverman said new Prime Minister Liz Truss’s government aimed to stick to a 2019 election promise to lower net migration in an interview ahead of the ruling Conservative Party’s annual conference.

Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said on September 23 that the government was looking to overhaul immigration policy as part of an effort to boost growth, following complaints from business groups that post-Brexit rules were too restrictive, particularly for low-wage jobs.

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But Braverman said reducing migration was a goal shared by all of Truss’s senior ministers.

“What we have is too many low-skilled workers coming into this country,” she said. “We’ve also got a very high number of students coming to this country, and we have a really high number of dependents.”

“Those people come here, they don’t necessarily work, or they work in low-skilled jobs, and they don’t contribute to growing our economy,” she added.

From January 2021, most workers must be paid at least £25,600 ($28,570) a year for an employer to sponsor a visa, create problems for employers in sectors such as agriculture, hospitality and some manufacturing where lower wages are common.

The number of EU workers has fallen, but this has been offset by an increase in the number of non-EU workers, particularly from India. Net migration to the UK was 239,000 in the year to June 2021, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Braverman also said she wanted to limit the ability of migrants to challenge deportation on the grounds that they had been subjected to forced labor or human trafficking, known in Britain as “modern slavery”.

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Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Alexander Smith and Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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