Migration of skilled workers from EU 'should be restricted to 30,000 per year'
Migration of highly-skilled workers from the EU to Britain should be restricted to 30,000 a year, according to a campaign group.
Migration Watch UK argued that the limit would maintain the current inflow of qualified EU migrants while allowing some room for expansion.
It proposed an annual ceiling of 30,000 work permits, claiming this would ensure business needs were unhindered.
Migration Watch, which campaigns for tighter immigration controls, said there should be no restrictions on tourists, business visitors, students or retired people coming to the UK from the union.
The body says restricting lower-skilled migration to the UK could reduce net migration from the EU - which was estimated at 180,000 in the 12 months to March - by around 100,000 a year.
Alp Mehmet, vice chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: "A sensible limit on skilled EU migration would maintain the inflow of qualified EU workers who benefit our society and economy while allowing some room for expansion.
"At the same time, closing our doors to low-skilled workers is also essential to reduce the scale of immigration and restore public confidence in its control."
The UK is expected to seek to introduce controls on EU free movement rules following the Brexit vote, but details of any future system have not yet been outlined.
Tory former cabinet minister Anna Soubry, who chairs campaign group Open Britain, said: "This proposal would damage the UK economy.
"This would prevent UK businesses from accessing the skills they need and would drag the UK out of the EU's single market.
"EU migrants make a valuable contribution in high skill sectors such as engineering as well as lower skilled sectors such as agriculture.
"We need sensible reforms to ensure those that come to the UK work, but we must not throw the baby out with the bathwater."