New UK immigration minister wants upper limit on immigration

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Phil Woolas, the UK's new immigration minister, said the Government's policy needs to provide confidence to the native population that migration is "under control" by placing an upper limit on migration.

"On a common sense level there has to be a limit to the population," Woolas said. "You have to have a policy that thinks about the population implication as well as the immigration implication."

Woolas' comments come after repeated assertions by previous immigration minister Liam Byrne that the UK's new points based system would be good enough in fulfilling Britain's immigration needs.

However, Byrne's replacement seems to have different ideas on the subject.

"On the one hand is the rationale that we have got to strengthen our economy," he said. "But we have got to provide reassurance to communities that the numbers coming in are not bad for us."

"Community cohesion is crucial. After the economy, this is probably the biggest concern facing the population," Woolas added.

The UK's immigration policy has been changing considerably in recent months, starting with the expiration of the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme in favour of Tier 1 (General), part of the UK's new five-tier points based system.

In November, Tier 2 and Tier 5 will be introduced, which cover employer-sponsored immigration and temporary work, respectively.

The last to follow will be Tier 4 for foreign students, which is expected to come into effect in early 2009. Tier 3, originally planned for unskilled labor, has been suspended indefinitely in favor of workers from within the European Union.