We can never control immigration while we continue to be members of the European Union.
Until we leave, we are forced to abide by the EU’s founding, unshakable principle of the ‘free movement of people,’ meaning we cannot prevent the flow of citizens from all EU member states into Britain. Other political parties will promise to control immigration, but while they continue to support the UK’s membership of the EU, they are not being honest with the electorate. Wholly unable to control EU migration, they can only reduce numbers by slamming the door in the face of people from around the rest of the world.
The old parties already support blatant discrimination against Commonwealth countries, with whom Britain has traditionally had long and friendly relationships. This inequality will at best continue and at worst increase, under their prejudicial immigration policies.
• Increase the numbers of Border Agency staff by 2,500
• Implement new border control technology solutions to ensure all passport and visa holders are counted in and out and to identify over-stayers, including those on student visas.
We will establish a Migration Control Commission to oversee operation of our Australian-style points based system. This commission will operate under a strict mandate to significantly reduce the numbers of people migrating to the UK. It will determine Britain’s economic and social needs annually and then recommend how many immigrants, with what skills required, we will accept into Britain. Because the other parties have failed to control immigration, UKIP will limit highly-skilled work visas to 50,000 per annum, including those from the EU, and apply a moratorium to unskilled and low-skilled labour over the course of the next parliament. UKIP has no intention of ‘pulling up the drawbridge’ to Britain, as has been suggested. We simply want to control who walks over it, like nearly 200 other countries worldwide.
OUR VISA SYSTEM
A new visa system will be operated on a strict principle of non-discrimination between peoples of all nations applying to work, study and visit the United Kingdom. We will offer five principal visa categories:
• Work Visas will be issued to skilled and key workers under our Australian-style points based system. Workers under this scheme will be required to have medical insurance to cover both themselves and any dependents for five years’ duration. During this time they will not be able to claim any benefits or non-urgent NHS treatment, unless they can be treated under any reciprocal international agreements or have been granted a specific exception by the Migration Control Commission. Those arriving on work visas will not be granted permanent leave to remain, however they can apply for British citizenship after five years if they have worked and paid tax here.
• Visitor visas and entry passes
We value and want to encourage tourism, however there are inequalities in the current system, which treats some nationalities more favourably than others. The Migration Control Commission will be charged with finding a system which enables countries with which the UK already has close ties, such as member states of the European Union and the Commonwealth, to establish reciprocal arrangements for visitor visas and term-dated entry passes.
• Student visas
The international student community makes an important contribution to the UK. Because students are in Britain only on a temporary basis, we will categorise them separately in immigration figures. All non-UK undergraduate and post-graduate students will be required to maintain private health insurance for the period of their study.
We will also:
• Review which educational institutions are eligible to enroll international students and prevent abuse of the student visa system. Students not attending courses will have their visas withdrawn and colleges not reporting absentees will be barred from accepting international students.
• Family reunion visas It is important that British citizens and those with permanent leave to remain here can form legal family relationships with non-British citizens and we will review the family union system to ensure this basic principle is respected and applies equally to all. However, our key aim is to control immigration, so we will abolish the EEA family permit scheme and reinstate the primary purpose rule, meaning foreign nationals marrying British citizens will have to prove that the primary purpose of their marriage is not to obtain British residency. • Asylum visas We will comply fully with the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees; speed up the asylum process; and seek to do so while tackling logjams in the system for those declined asylum status. We will continue to honour our obligations to bona fide asylum seekers.