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Government's plan for immigration might be "too tough", says Institute of Public Policy Research

David Woods , 10 Aug 2009

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The Government is taking a "get tough" approach to immigration, instead of integrating immigrants into the workforce, according to the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR).

Last week the immigrations minister Phil Woolas announced the introduction of a point based system for deciding when migrants would be granted probationary British citizenship. Points would be granted for English language ability, earning potential, volunteering, qualifications, shortage skills and residence.

If immigrants meet the criteria, the proposals suggest the introduction of a tiered process whereby the applicant will be granted ‘probationary citizenship' before another tiered process to achieve permanent residence.

But Tim Finch, head of migration at the IPPR, said: "The principle of earning citizenship is fair enough but these proposals seem to have the aim of making it much more difficult to become a citizen and reducing immigration numbers rather than really helping migrants to integrate. Certainly the process could take years with lots of hurdles, while all research shows integration is greatly helped by giving migrants certainty about their status as quickly as possible.

"The points test would challenge what has been perceived as an automatic right to move from temporary residence to permanent settlement."

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