Right-wing Tory MPs have urged Rishi Sunak to take action to reduce immigration, saying the system is “too lenient”.
The New Conservatives group, made up of 25 MPs on the right of the party, will put forward a number of proposals to the prime minister in a report released on Monday, including ending the temporary visa scheme for care workers and capping the number of refugees who are allowed to settle in the UK.
The group, which includes the party’s deputy chairman, Lee Anderson, said reducing the number of migrants coming to the country was a key part of Tory victories in so-called red wall seats in 2019, and the current level was having “destabilising economic and cultural consequences”.
The document comes as pressure grows on the prime minister from within his own party over his immigration policies.
Net migration rose to 606,000 in the past year – the highest figure on record – despite numerous pledges from the Conservatives in the past 13 years to bring the numbers down.
Mr Sunak also faces trouble in the courts over his policy to tackle illegal migration, with the Court of Appeal ruling this week that the government’s plan to send people to Rwanda was unlawful.
The New Conservatives claim ending the care worker visa scheme could cut immigration numbers by more than 80,000, saying it should only have been temporary to help during the pandemic.
They are also calling for a 20,000-person cap on refugee resettlement as another tactic – though they said it could be lifted “to respond to an unforeseen emergency, such as a natural disaster or a war”.
They also want study visas to be reserved for “the brightest international students by excluding the poorest performing universities from eligibility criteria”.
The government has already introduced plans to stop overseas students from bringing dependents to the country in a bid to curb immigration numbers.
Sky News has contacted Number 10 for a response.