Sajid Javid has said he is “not sad” his bus driver father would have been turned away from the UK under the Government’s new immigration proposals.
The proposals, announced by the Home Secretary in his conference speech, will mean high-skilled workers are given priority in visa applications over those with low skills.
Mr Javid’s father arrived in Britain in the 1960s from Pakistan and first took work in a cotton mill in Rochdale before becoming a bus driver.
Asked at a Tory conference fringe event whether he was sad his late father could not have taken the same journey to the UK today, he said: “I thought about that, I think it’s a perfectly good question and the answer is when my dad came to Britain in the 1960s there was a route that was set out by the British Government because the Government wanted, it needed, a route for low-skilled migration.”
He added: “No it doesn’t make me feel sad, I actually feel with today’s policy it makes you very optimistic about our future because what I have set out is that we will remain the global and outlooking nation that welcomes people from across the world.”
Mr Javid, who was at an event hosted by the Guardian, was also asked about the Windrush scandal and whether he was surprised by the public backlash.
He said: “I wasn’t actually, I think that when it became clear what had been happening over many years and we now know, at the time it looked like it was only happening over the last three or four years, we now know that goes back under successive governments.
“The British public have a real strong sense of decency and when they realised what was happening there was uproar – there should have been, given what had happened.”