SOMEONE, somewhere, is doubtless drawing up a list of election promises made by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties at the last election and comparing them with the policies that are actually being introduced. On the issue of immigration David Cameron undertook to bring down net immigration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands but the reality of the immigration cap policy announced this week is a reduction of non-EU immigrants by about 13 per cent -- far short of that election-time target. It is also worth recalling Nick Clegg's passionate advocacy in the TV debates of an amnesty for illegal immigrants who have been in Britain for some years and are in regular employment. What has happened to that idea? Under the new cap policy 21'700 skilled workers from outside the EU will be permitted to enter Britain next year. This is far from the number that British business spokesmen have been saying is needed to help the private sector play a major role in the much-needed economic recovery, although additional entries will be possible under a provision for in-company transfers of key staff from non-EU countries and for short stay assignments of exceptional talent earning at least 40'000 pounds. Taken together these measures will do little either to appease the hostility to immigration in many parts of Britain or to establish its essential role in the British economy.
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