Home Secretary Amber Rudd tells Birmingham conference she wants to get tough on immigration
Tories are launching a crackdown on immigrant taxi drivers working illegally in the UK, Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced.
The profession was singled out by Mrs Rudd in her speech to the party conference in Birmingham, as she promised to “get immigration under control”.
Net migration, currently 335,000 a year, would be reduced to “tens of thousands”, she said.
Mrs Rudd said quitting the European Union would mean an end to open-door migration from Europe – but the Government also wanted to cut immigration from the rest of the world.
And she announced a £140m Controlling Migration Fund to help public services in areas with high numbers of immigrants.
It’s similar to a policy announced by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at his party conference last week.
Setting out plans to cut immigration in her ICC speech, she said: “From December, immigration checks will be a mandatory requirement for those wanting to get a licence to drive a taxi.”
While she didn’t give any explanation of why taxi drivers were being targeted rather than people in any other line of work, the policy only makes sense is if the Government believes there is currently a problem with people who have no right to work in the UK driving taxis.
Other measures include making it a criminal offence for a landlord knowingly to rent out property to people who have no right to be here.
And banks will have to do regular checks to ensure they are not providing essential banking services to illegal migrants.
The Home Secretary announced measures likely to anger employers and universities.
She said the Government is to consider tightening the test companies have to take before recruiting from abroad, effectively making it harder for firms to recruit foreign staff.
Mrs Rudd said: “The test should ensure people coming here are filling gaps in the labour market, not taking jobs British people could do.
“But it’s become a tick box exercise, allowing some firms to get away with not training local people. We won’t win in the world if we don’t do more to upskill our own workforce.”
And she said rules which allow students to work in the UK will be toughened up – for the less prestigious universities.
“Our consultation will ask what more can we do to support our best universities – and those that stick to the rules – to attract the best talent, while looking at tougher rules for students on lower quality courses.”
She insisted: “This Government will not waver in its commitment to put the interests of the British people first. Reducing net migration back down to sustainable levels will not be easy. But I am committed to delivering it on behalf of the British people.”