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May defends migration cuts amid leaked paper row

By Alessandra Rizzo, Political Reporter
Theresa May has defended moves to restrict EU migration after Brexit, as a leaked Government document revealed a planned crackdown on unskilled European migrants.
The proposals by the Government drew criticism from some Labour MPs - with one calling the plan "plainly cruel" - while some business associations worried at its possible impact on industries that are especially reliable on migrant workers, such as catering and retail.Mrs May told the Commons at Prime Minister's Questions that immigration to the country had been good overall, but people want to see tighter controls on migrants with Brexit."That's I think what people want to see as a result of coming out of the EU," the PM said."We continue to believe as a Government that it's important to have net migration at sustainable levels."We believe that to be in the tens of thousands because of the impact particularly it has on people at the lower end of the income scale in depressing their wages."
May defends migration cuts amid leaked paper row

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Jeremy Corbyn did not question the PM on migration or Brexit
It was the first PMQs since the summer recess, coming just hours after the potentially explosive document was leaked to the Guardian newspaper.There was no mention of Brexit in the exchanges between Mrs May and Jeremy Corbyn.However, the Prime Minister was taken to task by SNP MP Ian Blackford, who asked her to apologise for a "disgraceful" Home Office error which saw 100 EU nationals receiving deportation notices over the summer.Mrs May said the error should not have happened and added that "every single one of those individuals was telephoned with an apology".Under detailed proposals drawn up by Home Office officials, Britain will end Brussels' free movement of labour rules immediately after Brexit and introduce restrictions to deter all but highly skilled EU workers. Ian Blackford asks if PM agrees immigration "is essential to the strength of the UK economy". PM says "overall immigration has been good" pic.twitter.com/jmqd4CJ5JP— Sky News (@SkyNews) September 6, 2017

"Put plainly, this means that, to be considered valuable to the country as a whole, immigration should benefit not just the migrants themselves but also make existing residents better off," said the 82-page document, marked "draft - official sensitive."It proposes that while highly-skilled workers could get a work permit lasting three to five years, lower skilled workers may only be allowed to work in Britain for two years to limit the number "of EU citizens able to come to the UK".
The changes would be introduced over time, and the Government could place tough new restrictions on EU citizens' rights to bring in family members, it said.The document has been described as "a platform for discussion" and it has not been agreed by the Government.But it marked the first insight into the Government's thinking on one of the most crucial issues facing Britain as the country negotiates its departure from the EU.
The 82-page document details the Government's thinking on migration
The document was leaked to the Guardian newspaper
Filled with charts and case studies, it is marked as extremely sensitive and dated August 2017
It shows the Government plans to introduce cuts straight after Brexit
It aims at cutting the numbers of low-skilled migrants from Europe
The Government said it will outline its proposals officially later in the year
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Some business leaders expressed concern over the possible impact of an immigration crackdown on the labour market.Ian Wright, director general of the Food and Drink Federation, said: "Food and drink manufacturing, Britain's largest manufacturing sector, will be alarmed by the proposals."Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party, criticised the plan as not "just economically illiterate, it's plainly cruel too", while London Mayor Sadiq Khan said it was "a blueprint on how to strangle our economy".But for Brexit supporters, it was "a great step in the right direction for the UK to take back control of its borders"."The government is right to prioritise highly skilled and skilled migration," said MEP Steven Woolfe, a former member of UKIP.Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the Government would outline its firm plans later this year.
May defends migration cuts amid leaked paper row

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Fallon: 'Balance to be struck' on immigration
He said free movement of people would end when Britain's membership in the EU ends in March 2019, but insisted "there is a balance to be struck"."We want to attract to this country and not shut the door on highly skilled people who want to come here and make a contribution to society," he told Sky News."But equally we have to make sure that British companies are also prepared to train and train up British workers," he added.
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