Suella Braverman's immigration plans cause rift in Cabinet as just one proposal gets green light

16 May 2023, 23:38 | Updated: 16 May 2023, 23:42

Suella Braverman’s immigration plans have been stalled by a split in the cabinet
Suella Braverman’s immigration plans have been stalled by a split in the cabinet. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Suella Braverman's immigration plans have caused a split among Cabinet ministers, with only one of her proposals being approved.

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The Home Secretary drew up plans earlier this year after a private briefing paper by Home Office officials predicted that immigration numbers will continue to hit record levels unless the government takes action.

It comes after she gave a speech to the National Conservatism conference on Monday, in which she warned that numbers would need to be brought down dramatically before the next general election.

She said it would stop reliance on foreign labour and ease the pressure on housing, education, health and other public services.

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Protesters disrupt Suella Braverman during speech

A document titled Net Migration Briefing, which was revealed by the Telegraph on Tuesday, estimated that 1.1 million foreign workers and students will arrive in the UK in 2024.

Five proposals were subsequently drawn up by Ms Braverman, which were seen by The Times.

They were: Increase the minimum salaries for companies employing skilled workers, make it harder to bring spouses to the UK, reduce the time foreign students can stay in the country after their course, ban them from bringing family members and remove students if they fail to finish their course.

However only one was approved by Cabinet ministers - a ban on foreign master’s students from bringing relatives with them to the UK.

Read more: Eco protesters dragged out of conference hall after heckling Suella Braverman during keynote immigration speech

Read more: 'We mustn't forget how to do things for ourselves': Braverman to increase pressure on Sunak to cut net migration

Steve Barclay is understood to be among ministers pushing back against some of the proposals
Steve Barclay is understood to be among ministers pushing back against some of the proposals. Picture: Alamy

Education secretary Gillian Keegan and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt are understood to be among those who have failed to back measures.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay is also said to be pushing back over the need to keep care workers on the shortage occupation list, which helps industries suffering labour shortages recruit from overseas.

A Whitehall source told the paper: "There are discussions happening around cabinet. The Home Office are not the only people with skin in the game. There’s the education secretary, health secretary, lots of moving parts to this.

"Yes, the Home Office has the levers of immigration, but it’s a whole-government decision on how we use those levers."

A Home Office source said: "Discussions are still ongoing and nothing has been decided - this is a whole-of-government approach where we want to find the right balance."

Government sources have said that Gillian Keegan is another minister who has failed to back measures
Government sources have said that Gillian Keegan is another minister who has failed to back measures. Picture: Alamy

Other proposals said to have been drawn up by Ms Braverman include increasing the minimum income threshold for British citizens applying for a family visa for a foreign spouse or children and increasing the minimum salary thresholds for foreign workers filling jobs on the government’s shortage occupation list.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The public rightly expect us to control our borders and we remain committed to reducing net migration over time, while ensuring we have the skills our economy needs."

Meanwhile, No10 has said the priority is tackling illegal migration before addressing matters surrounding legal migration.

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