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As long as Cameron reduces net immigration to the tens of thousands the Coalition should be flexible on economic immigration

By Tim Montgomerie

Screen shot 2010-10-25 at 20.53.40 The words in Cameron's CBI speech to heads of industry were straightforward:

"As we control our borders and bring immigration to a manageable level, we will not impede you from attracting the best talent from around the world.''

On the backs of those words - and even more likely on the back of an off-the-record briefing - The Telegraph is suggesting Cameron may be considering a "relaxation" of the Coalition's immigration cap. In reality I suspect they mean cap on economic immigration (from outside the EU).

Relaxation on economic immigration (the FT speculates on how it might be made more flexible) should not concern Conservative activists. As we get the economy motoring again our country's leading business people should be able to look abroad to get the specialist skills they need. What must not happen is (a) economic immigration undercuts the possibility of suitably equipped British people finding work and (b) Cameron honours his repeated promise to cut net immigration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands.

In his "comprehensive offer" to Liberal Democrats on 7th May, immigration was one of the Tory leader's "non-negotiables". We can trust him to deliver on it.


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