» Monday, January 24, 2005


Asked if the Prime Minister was against the idea of a quota for immigration numbers, the PMOS said he was not going to get involved in party political matters, but rather, would discuss the subject matter. The Prime Minister had not changed his view, and felt what was important regarding asylum was to recognise the two thirds drop since October 2002 and to recognise the measures that had been taken. In terms of managed migration, it was important to recognise the tough control measures that had been brought in, for example, work permits, and also to recognise the need of the economy for a flexible supply of migrant labour. That was what business leaders and The Treasury said the British economy needed, especially when there were 600,000 job vacancies throughout the country, and in particular in London and the South East. At the same time, we recognised it was an issue on which we needed to be making progress, therefore when the Five Year Plan was announced shortly regarding immigration and asylum, it would show clearly not just the work being done, but a series of further controls. The key to managed migration was flexibility and control.

Asked why there could not be a quota introduced at the level of the 600,000 level, the PMOS replied in terms of seasonal workers, for example, it varied between both seasons and years. Therefore, there was a variation in demand, according to the state of the economy etc. There was a great need to be able to respond flexibly and with tight control.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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