PM Liz Truss and Home Secretary Suella Braverman in disagreement over immigration rules

PM Liz Truss and Home Secretary Suella Braverman in disagreement over immigration rules 2
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Prime Minister Liz Truss faces yet another revolt from within her own cabinet, as Home Secretary Suella Braverman outlines her commitment to slash immigration.

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The former leadership rival has vowed to use the powers gained from exiting the European Union to ‘substantially reduce’ the number of unskilled foreign workers coming to Britain.

But the strong anti-immigration stance runs counter to the views held by other cabinet members, some of whom are hoping to relax immigration rules to fill the near-record 1.2 million vacancies.

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And the Prime Minister herself is understood to be planning to let in an additional 20,000 unskilled foreign workers each year in an attempt to boost the economy.

Ms Braverman said she wants the number of immigrants to be reduced significantly from the current 239,000 to the ‘tens of thousands’, according to the Express.

She told the newspaper: ‘We have new visa routes and the power to control who we want to come to the country. I think we should start exercising that power.’

Home Secretary Suella Braverman (pictured) has vowed to use the powers gained from exiting the European Union to 'substantially reduce' the number of unskilled foreign workers coming to Britain

Home Secretary Suella Braverman (pictured) has vowed to use the powers gained from exiting the European Union to ‘substantially reduce’ the number of unskilled foreign workers coming to Britain

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Speaking to The Spectator current affairs magazine she added: ‘I cannot believe that there are labour shortages that cannot be filled.

‘We have a large cohort who can work but are not working- and they’re doing that out of choice in many cases.’

The Home Secretary said British farmers, who recruit up to 40,000 overseas employees under the seasonal worker visa scheme, need to end their ‘reliance’ on domestic labour.

In contrast, Ms Truss is understood to be open to the prospect of temporarily expanding the seasonal worker visa scheme to other sectors to fill labour shortages. She might also relax the six-month limit on how long the workers are able to stay in the UK. 

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Ms Braverman already sparked an immigration-related rift with the Prime Minister earlier in the week when she warned Ms Truss against signing a trade deal with India that would increase immigration.

The Home Secretary said that Brexiteers did not vote for an open borders policy with India and claimed that visa overstayers from the subcontinent already pose a problem.

Liz Truss (pictured at the party conference on Wednesday) is understood to be planning to let in an additional 20,000 unskilled foreign workers each year in an attempt to boost the economy

Liz Truss (pictured at the party conference on Wednesday) is understood to be planning to let in an additional 20,000 unskilled foreign workers each year in an attempt to boost the economy

She said the UK must limit new arrivals, and wants job vacancies filled by older workers from the UK.

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Ms Braverman also pledged to take a ‘more discerning’ approach to the number of student visas being issued at the Tory party conference on Monday.

Home Office figures show there were more than 485,000 sponsored study visas, including dependants, granted in the 12 months to June this year. 

This was 71 per cent more than in 2019, which was the last full year before the Covid pandemic, and the highest on record.

The numbers were boosted by new post-Brexit requirements for European students to apply for visas in Britain.

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Mrs Braverman acknowledged there had been a ‘massive increase’ in the number of foreign students coming to the UK.

She insisted it was ‘legitimate to question whether that’s actually going to serve our economic objectives’ and that it was right to consider the ‘quality’ of courses being studied.

At a fringe event at the Tory Party Conference on Monday, Ms Braverman pledged to take a 'more discerning' approach to the number of student visas being issued

At a fringe event at the Tory Party Conference on Monday, Ms Braverman pledged to take a ‘more discerning’ approach to the number of student visas being issued

But it is not only immigration policy that the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister are in disagreement over.

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The MP for Fareham in Hampshire also launched a swipe against Ms Truss’s U-turn on scrapping the 45p rate of tax for people earning more than £150,000-a-year.

Ms Braverman, a darling of the Right who fought Ms Truss for the leadership over the summer, also poured petrol on the flaming spat about plans to cut benefits in real terms. Other Cabinet ministers have insisted that the handouts should rise in line with inflation.

On Tuesday, Commons leader Penny Mordaunt, another former leadership contender, said it ‘makes sense’ to increase benefits in line with inflation. 

But in an outspoken appearance on the conference fringe that roamed far beyond her brief, Ms Braverman condemned the UK’s ‘Benefit Street culture’ – a reference to a TV programme about claimants.

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