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Govt migration target 'neither achievable nor desirable'

David Cameron's aim to reduce net migration to below 100,000 is "neither achievable not desirable", the Institute Of Directors said.

David Cameron speaking to an immigration officer today. Credit: PA Wire

Simon Walker, director general of the Institute Of Directors, said the Government's target was "difficult to understand" and was "undermining faith in the whole system".

"By setting a target that is neither achievable not desirable, they have only undermined faith in the whole system," he said.

"International students and highly-skilled individuals from abroad bring substantial benefits to the UK, but business groups cannot have a tin-ear to the widespread public unease about immigration.

"Companies need migrants to be able to fill skills gaps, but that is a different issue to making sure immigration law is properly enforced, including cracking down on the small number of bad employers who break the rules."

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PM: Migration figures show how much work we have to do

David Cameron has told ITV News' Romilly Weeks that figures showing a marked increase in net migration show "how much work we have to do".

Asked whether he should abandon his target to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands, Mr Cameron said: "Figures show how much work we have to do but the British people believe and I believe...that the number of people coming to our country has been too high and is too high and needs to be brought down."

The Prime Minister said cutting immigration was a priority for his new Government, pledging: "We are going to fix it."

In his speech at the Home Office, Mr Cameron confirmed police would be given the power to seize the earnings of illegal workers as part of his plans.

He also confirmed that he would chair a new "Immigration Taskforce" in order to "hold every part of government to account on our relentless drive to control immigration."

Cooper slams Government's immigration plans

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary and Labour leadership contender, has accused David Cameron of "taking people for fools" after new figures showed a significant increase in net migration to the UK.

Yvette Cooper, Labour's shadow home secretary. Credit: PA Wire

Ms Cooper said there was a "massive gap" between the government's "rhetoric" on immigration and the "reality".

She said: “David Cameron is taking people for fools. On the day he has promised yet again to cut net migration to the tens of thousands, these figures show it is over three times that target.

"This massive gap between rhetoric and reality, between promise and delivery, just destroys trust in anything Ministers say on immigration."

Ukip: Govt failed catastrophically to control immigration

The Government has "catastrophically" failed to control immigration, Ukip has said.

After new figures showed net migration to the UK soared to 318,000 in 2014, Nigel Farage, the party's leader, said David Cameron's claim to be "pulling up the drawbridge" was "absurd".

Ukip's only MP, Douglas Carswell, said Government plans to strip illegal workers of their pay were "mad" and would "persecute a handful of illegal workers".

Steven Woolfe, the party's migration spokesperson added: “Today’s government announcement on illegal migration is a smoke screen to mask today’s appalling immigration statistics.

"In almost every area, net migration, overall UK immigration, EU immigration, non-EU immigration, sham marriages, bogus students, overstayers; the government has failed catastrophically."

Govt 'will find it difficult to meet migration pledge'

New figures show how difficult it will be for the Government to meet its pledge to cut net migration to the tens of thousands, analysts say.

The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said today's figures - showing a "statistically significant" increase - were the second highest on record.

Today's figures show how difficult it would be to reduce net migration to the 'tens of thousands'.

Net migration has risen even despite new restrictions on family, work and student visas that were introduced during the last parliament.

– Migration Observatory

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Net long-term migration to UK hits 318,000

Net long-term migration into the UK surged to near record levels last year, new figures show.

Net migration to the UK rose to 318,000 in 2014. Credit: PA Wire

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said net migration increased to 318,000 in 2014, a "statistically significant" rise of more than 109,000 from the previous year.

The figure is just shy of the 2005-peak level of 320,000.

Confirmation of the rise came as the Government promised "radical" action to curb the number of illegal workers coming to the UK.

The news will come as a blow to Prime Minister David Cameron who previously promised to cut the number of people arriving in the UK to the tens of thousands.

The figures - measuring the number of people entering the country minus the number leaving - revealed:

641,000
immigrated to the UK in 2014 (an increase from 526,000 the previous year)
268,000
EU citizens arrived - up by 67,000
290,000
non-EU nationals entered the UK, an increase of 42,000
323,000
people emigrated from the UK

Taking illegal workers' wages 'is not the answer'

Taking illegal workers' wages will make lives "more difficult" and would not help control immigration, a campaign group has warned.

Saira Grant speaking to Good Morning Britain. Credit: ITV/Good Morning Britain

"Confiscating wages, making people's lives more difficult is not the answer," Saira Grant, from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, told Good Morning Britain.

She also questioned the practicalities of the measure, particularly when taking the wages of people working cash-in-hand in low-paid work.

Earlier, Home Secretary Theresa May insisted the plan was "only fair" to British workers.

Theresa May: Illegal workers' pay plan is fair

Home Secretary Theresa May has defended plans to seize illegal workers' wages, saying radical action was "only fair" to British workers.

It was revealed today that police will be enabled to seize the wages of illegal workers as proceeds of crime under new proposals set to be included in next week's Queen's Speech.

Speaking to ITV's Good Morning Britain, Mrs May said: "I think it's only fair to working people, to people who are out there working hard and paying their taxes, that we do deal with people who are here illegally, who have no right to be here in the UK and should be leaving the UK."

Mrs May said the Tories' general election win would enable stronger action on immigration, but refused to comment on whether new figures released today would show an increase in migration.

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