This Conservative Party Conference is all about immigration

Reducing migration is a key theme this year after Brexit. Credit: PA

You don't have to have your ear too far from the ground at this Conservative Conference to hear mention of the word "immigration".

Your hear it in speeches on the stage, at the fringe meetings, in TV interviews and in conversations throughout the centre.


Because the message this party - and this Prime Minister - has taken from the vote to leave the European Union is that voters want more controls over the numbers of migrants.

Today, the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, recommitted her department to the target of reducing migration to the "tens of thousands" level.

Even though it was a target which proved to be very problematic for David Cameron.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd laid out her plans for cutting migration. Credit: PA

Today Ms Rudd announced that business would have to jump through more hoops if they wanted to employ workers from overseas (at the moment that means workers from outside the EU).

Additionally she committed herself to cutting the numbers of overseas students studying at British Universities.

Both announcements immediately ran into opposition.

Employers' groups expressed their alarm at any new restrictions to recruit the talent they need from abroad.

Many companies - they say - cannot find workers with the right skills they need in the UK.

That applies to highly skilled jobs in bioscience and unskilled jobs in the care and transport sector.

And employers claim it may render firms unable to recruit staff or expand their businesses.

Universities like LSE take in many international students. Credit: PA

Similarly, universities expressed their alarm at the Home Office's intention to crack down on student numbers.

International students, said Universities UK (the organisation which represents universities), are worth £7 billion to the UK economy and generate 137,000 jobs.

The majority go home after their studies and therefore universities claim overseas students should not be included in immigration figures as they are now.

When Theresa May was Home Secretary, she repeatedly clashed with her then-Cabinet colleagues George Osborne and Vince Cable during the coalition years.

But she is now the Prime Minister.

And she has clearly ordered her Home Secretary to push ahead with these changes - despite claims of the negative impact it would have on the economy.