New U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss is facing her first Cabinet revolt among key allies understood to be unhappy with government plans to relax immigration rules — a plan she claims will boost economic growth.
MailOnline reports that both recently appointed Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg are opposed to the plan, instead advocating for a more conservative social policy.
The new Conservative Party leader is expected to announce a relaxation of rules governing the shortage occupations list, widening the criteria to allow businesses greater flexibility to recruit cheaper migrant labor to critical roles.
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The Daily Telegraph is also reporting that language proficiency tests could be eased to entice immigration into Britain, meaning that newcomers would not need to learn the English language to the current standard before being granted a work visa.
Braverman, a former rival to Truss in the Conservative Party’s leadership election over the summer, is rumored to be displeased.
A source told the Daily Telegraph: “The Home Secretary does not believe that reducing net migration needs to mean we go to lower growth. You can achieve both. You can solve the economic bottlenecks that need to have higher skills but at the same time bring down aggregate migration.”
This sentiment was further echoed by the free-marketeer, socially conservative Sir John Redwood, who told TalkTV’s Mike Graham: “The cheap labor model which we were using when we were in the EU was not a good one! It may have been cheap for the company, but it wasn’t cheap for the state.
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“The state needs to provide housing, school places, health facilities, benefit top-ups, and all the rest of it. It was very expensive for the state, so I hope we won’t be going back down that route,” he added.
With the two top concerns of Brits being the economy and immigration, and some MPs reportedly already putting in letters of no confidence over Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s radical “mini-budget” announced on Friday, it is vital for the new administration that socially conservative colleagues are kept on their side.
The long-running lobby group Migration Watch UK has expressed its dismay at the current proposals to further liberalize Britain’s immigration policy. Its founder, Alp Mehmet, told TalkTV on Monday the policy was “baffling.”
“It is absolutely absurd,” said Mehmet. “The system already, since the beginning of 2021, has been opened up to people coming to work here immeasurably. What they are doing now is immigration for immigration’s sake.”
A Downing Street source however sought to stem the revolt, insisting that the government’s plan to expand the shortage occupations list would see “increasing numbers in some areas and decreasing in others,” in addition to already-announced plans to reform Britain’s benefits rules to encourage those who can work to seek employment.