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Tories vow to reduce annual net immigration to ‘tens of thousands’

Companies employing migrant workers will see the Immigration Skills Charge doubled to £2,000-a-year by the end of the parliament.

Annual net immigration will be reduced to “tens of thousands” if the Conservatives retain power, the party’s manifesto said.

The policy document said the current figure of 273,000 people heading to Britain was “still too high” and promised to slash the number to “sustainable levels”.

Companies employing migrant workers will see the Immigration Skills Charge doubled to £2,000-a-year by the end of the parliament, with the revenue generated to be invested in higher level skills training for UK workers.

The party hopes the plan will deter businesses or government from avoiding their “obligations to improve the skills of the British workforce”.

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Companies employing migrant workers will see the Immigration Skills Charge doubled to £2,000-a-year (John Giles/PA)

There are also proposals to seek recommendations about better aligning the visa system with industrial strategy, with the intention of enabling the government to “set aside significant numbers of visas for workers in strategically-important sectors” without adding to “net migration as a whole”.

Overseas students will remain in the immigration statistics but the manifesto sets out plans to heighten requirements for students hoping to remain in the country to work after their course has finished.

It also pledged to “increase the earnings threshold for people wishing to sponsor migrants for family visas” for those coming from outside the EU.

The party promises to create an immigration policy which allows the country to “attract the skilled workers our economy needs” while reducing and controlling the number who come to Britain from the EU.

On integration, the party promises to bring forward an integration strategy to “help people in more isolated communities to engage with the wider world” – including helping women in work and teaching more people to speak English.

“We will work with schools to make sure that those with intakes from one predominant racial, cultural or religious background teach their students about pluralistic, British values and help them to get to know people with different ways of life,” the manifesto adds.

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