It is believed Sajid Javid will unveil a major easing of Britain’s immigration system, allowing thousands of highly-skilled workers to come to the UK to bolster professions including teachers, engineering and the health sector.
Discussing the news on BBC Breakfast was Naga Munchetty and Alp Mehmet, Vice Chair of Migration Watch UK.
Naga introduced the segment, explaining it will mean more access for some people including health workers, engineers and teachers, and asked Alp what he thought of the news.
He said: “In terms of net migration I don’t think, in the early stages anyway, it’s going to make a huge amount of difference.
“Bearing in mind that the cap has been in place since 2011 then perhaps it’s about time it was reviewed. What I hope doesn’t happen is that the medical sector uses it as a ‘get out of jail free card’ that they suddenly turn to the cheaper option of bringing in overseas trained doctors – particularly from poor countries.
“I think that would be morally wrong, apart from anything. What we should be doing is training many more doctors ourselves – nurses and other medical professionals.”
Mr Javid, Home Secretary, is set to announce on Friday that doctors and nurses from outside the EU will be excluded from the tier.
The British Medical Journal stated between December 2017 and March 2018 over 1,500 visa applications from doctors with job offers in the UK were refused access as the cap from workers had already been filled.
Naga grilled Alp, saying: “It’s difficult when you’ve got 8000 being let in and there are, what, 35,000 nurse posts, nearly 10,000 doctor vacancies.
“It’s not really a get out of jail free card’, is it?”
He replied: “I’d like to see the detail of how they arrive at those sort of numbers. The fact is that we are indeed far more dependent on foreign trained doctors and nurses than other countries.
“Doctors in particular, we have something like 30% who are trained overseas. Comparable countries like France have something like 9%, the Netherlands have 3%, Canada, the US – many fewer than us. Why is that? It’s because we haven’t trained enough.
“I don’t think the medical sector should get away with the fact they haven’t prepared for something that they should’ve seen coming.”
But Naga wasn’t going to let the topic drop and further probed Alp on the topic. She said: “Well, training takes time and the jobs need to be filled now…”
He responded: “We’ve had since 2011 to do it, why haven’t we done it? That’s the problem.”
Moving the debate on, Naga said: “Ok. What restrictions would you like to see on the immigration rules?”
Alp, who was born in Cyprus and arrived in Britain at eight years old, said: “I think we’re going to have a new system put in place, inevitably, because of Brexit.
“Brexit itself will give us an opportunity to bring numbers down – particularly unskilled workers coming from the EU. There is a whole system that’s being worked out at the moment that I presume at some point have a sight of.
“There’s a great deal that needs to be done and frankly the people of this country want it.
“Two thirds want immigration reduced – that is something we should keep the government to. The government should not be allowed to get away with the fact that they made a promise and they haven’t kept it. Net migration must come down because that’s what people want.”
The Home Secretary is set to announce on Friday that doctors and nurses from outside the EU will be excluded from the tier.