Britain plans interim cap on non-EU migrants

Britain plans a temporary limit on the number of non-European Union migrants to prevent a surge of foreign workers arriving before a permanent cap is introduced.

Powered by automated translation

Britain plans to put a temporary limit on the number of non-European Union migrants to prevent a surge of foreign workers arriving before a permanent cap is introduced next April. Government sources today said just 4,100 workers from outside Europe would be allowed into the country before April 2011, a fall of 5 per cent on last year. "It's an interim measure to avoid a last-minute rush," said one government source.

The home secretary Theresa May will announce the move on Monday when she launches a consultation process for deciding the level of the permanent cap. The announcement is the first step in the government's pledge to cut the number of foreign workers coming to Britain. The prime minister David Cameron took a tough line of immigration in the run-up to last month's election, promising to bring annual net migration down from "hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands". It currently stands at about 170,000 a year.

Mr Cameron's tough line on immigration proved popular with voters, but has drawn criticism from business groups who claim a rigid cap could harm the recovery by making it harder for firms to hire the talent they need. *Reuters