UK Immigration Cap under attack from within Government

There is continuing disagreement in the UK Coalition Government between the more pro-immigration Liberal Democrat Government Ministers and Conservative Party Government Ministers. The Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable has said that the interim immigration cap is doing "huge damage" to business.

Mr Cable is concerned that some companies may move jobs abroad because of the difficulty in obtaining Tier 2 visas and highly skilled Tier 1 visas for workers from overseas. Mr Cable says that he still wants a permanent cap from April 2011. However, he wants it to be more "flexible".

The official view of the Conservative Party Prime Minister's office is that the cap will still allow "the brightest and best to come to Britain". The Prime Minister' office also had the following to say about the Business Secretary's comments:

"[He had]…raised the concerns of business and the government was aware of those concerns".

"I don't think there is evidence it is doing huge damage to the economy."

The Home Secretary had previously announced that under the interim cap to April 2011 the number of non-EU workers allowed entry to the UK would be reduced by about 5% to 24,100.

The Business Secretary Vince Cable also had the following to say about the current problems in bringing in skilled professional staff into the UK:

"I was talking to people in the City and there were two investment banks that recruit hundreds of people from the non-EU area, Indians and Americans.

"They were allowed only 30-40. They have moved some operations to Hong Kong."

Mr Cable said that he would still support the Coalition Government agreement on the cap. This will mean a permanent immigration cap on non-EU immigration from April 2011. Mr Cable went onto say that he wanted to have a flexible cap that will vary depending on the economic situation. During the General Election campaign the Conservative Party made a manifesto commitment to the immigration cap. The Liberal Democrats opposed the immigration cap.

The Conservative Party Mayor of London Boris Johnson had the following to say about the effect on of the effect on accountancy firms, banks and law firms of the immigration cap:

"[They]…actually find it very, very difficult at the moment to get in some of the people who you really need to keep London's economy going".

The Labour Party's Shadow business secretary Pat McFadden had the following comments to make:

"Vince Cable's comment that the government's proposed immigration cap is doing a lot of damage to British industry is right.

"The idea that a global trading nation like ours should stop talent from overseas coming to work or study here is good neither for our economy nor for our world leading position in education and research. The government is hopelessly at sea on this."

It is hoped that the Liberal Democrat Government Ministers including the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who supports Vince Cable vies on the immigration cap will have a moderating influence which will at the very least result in a more flexible immigration cap.