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Sunday, November 06, 2016

The contradiction at the heart of Government immigration policy

At the heart of the Brexit process is a desire by many leave voters and MPs to restrict immigration. It is the main obstacle to us remaining within the single market after we leave the EU even though more than half of all immigrants come from outside the EU.

Ironically, despite the nirvana predicted by many Brexit campaigners and their assertion that having left the EU countries will be lining up to do trade deals with us, the desire to restrict immigration could prove a major obstacle to achieving those aims.

The Independent reports that Theresa May has been told that her tough stance on immigration could harm any chances of a post-Brexit trade deal with India:

A delegation of 40 business leaders will accompany the Prime Minister on a two-day visit to India today in which the Prime Minister hopes to set in motion the possibility of a free trade deal that can be signed as quickly as possible once the UK leaves the EU.

But the Prime Minister will face difficult questions about changes in UK visa arrangements for Indian workers and students, as the Home Office seeks to drive down non-EU migration figures, which already account for more than half of all migration to the UK.

And her visit has been overshadowed by comments from Dinesh Patnaik, India's High Commissioner in London, who said:

"Students, tourists and short-term visitors are not migrants under any definition.

"Post-Brexit, you need Indians. Our tourists… don't come to Britain due to difficult visa conditions."

This post-Brexit world is looking to be far more difficult than Leave campaigners predicted.

Lord Bilimoria, on World this Weekend today, was even more scathing about government pronouncements, particularly on student numbers.

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