UK Deputy Prime Minister criticises UK Prime Minister on immigration

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Nick Clegg the Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister has attacked the Conservative Party Prime Minister's immigration plans. He says that reducing the number of immigrants to tens of thousands a year was not government policy. Immigration policy has been an ongoing source of friction between the Liberal Democrat members of the Government and the more anti immigration Conservative Party members of the Government.

It should be noted that under EU law the UK has to allow free movement of EU citizens and their families into the UK. In addition the limit on the number of tier 2 visas issued will only have a relatively small affect on overall levels of immigration. While at the same time making things more difficult for businesses. In practice it is likely to prove difficult reducing immigration to tens of thousands a year.

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told BBC 1's The Politics Show:

"It's not in the Coalition agreement and I don't think anyone suggests that what we should be doing is pursuing fixed numerical targets in immigration policy.

"Lots of people come in and out of this country, not least through the European Union, who you can't just numerically control, so I don't think it's a numbers game."

Mr Clegg commented further on Mr Cameron's tougher stance on immigration, saying:

"I wouldn't have used those words, I wouldn't have used that language."

Nick Clegg Deputy Prime Minister in a more conciliatory note said:

"In terms of the policy, the policy is actually one which we've all congregated around."

The British Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May have told the House of Commons that the Government's policies will reduce the number of immigrants from a previous high of 200,000 to tens of thousands a year.

But Mr Clegg's remarks contradict the Government's stated aim to impose a cap on migrants.

The UK Government in a policy paper has stated the following:

"There should be an annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work.

"This is one of the ways we will reduce net migration back to the levels of the 1990s – tens of thousands not hundreds of thousands."

Yvette Cooper, the opposition Labour Party Home Secretary, said the following:

"The Tory-led Government's immigration policy is now in utter chaos. Ministers need to explain urgently what on earth their immigration policy now is and whether cabinet ministers are actually prepared to deliver it or not."

She went onto say:

"We still don't know whether David Cameron's promise to cut net immigration to the tens of thousands is Government policy or not – with the Prime Minister claiming it is, and the Deputy Prime Minister claiming it isn't."

Immigration has become more difficult in recent years. However, there it is still possible to emigrate to the UK, perhaps under the Tier 2 visa, if you have say a professional level job offer. You will find further details of the Tier visa scheme on our website.