Amber Rudd aiming for ‘sustainable’ levels of UK migration

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said her goal is to bring immigration down to “sustainable levels”.
Ms Rudd declined to be drawn on whether the government was still committed to reducing annual net migration to the tens of thousands.
The target was missed during the last Parliament, with net migration exceeding 330,000 in 2015.
The Lib Dems said the target had been “ditched” while Labour has called for a Commons statement on the matter.
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Immigration was the Leave campaign’s key argument during the EU referendum. They pointed to David Cameron’s failure to meet his own targets as evidence that being a member of the EU was incompatible with the UK having full control over its borders.
Figures such as Boris Johnson and Liam Fox, who are now in the cabinet, called for an end to the unqualified right of EU citizens to live and work in the UK, saying Parliament should determine annual numbers from both inside and outside the EU through an Australian-style points system.
Political pressure
Although Mrs May and Ms Rudd campaigned to remain in the EU, they will be under political pressure to ensure that Brexit results in lower immigration levels – with the prime minister insisting free movement into the UK for EU citizens will end after Brexit.
However, it is unclear at this stage whether this can be delivered and Ms Rudd’s remarks have cast doubt about whether existing targets on immigration will be retained during the period of negotiations over EU exit – which are likely to take several years.
While in the Home Office, Mrs May insisted she remained committed to reducing levels of net migration – the difference between the number of people settling in the UK and those emigrating – to under 100,000 a year.
But during her six years as home secretary, Mrs May failed to come close to meeting the target, first set by David Cameron while the Tories were in opposition and reiterated in the party’s 2015 general election manifesto.
The latest figure for 2015 showed net migration at 333,000 – its second highest level on record.
“I’m going to stick to my comment which is about bringing it down to sustainable levels. That has to be the most important thing for the country.”

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