Economists have attacked policies announced by UKIP to reduce immigration to the UK to below 50,000 annually.
The policy, announced at the party’s annual conference, would use a similar points-based system to that employed by Australia, to judge whether overseas nationals could live in the UK based on their skills and competencies.
However, leading economists say the idea is not only unworkable, it would also be bad news for the UK’s economic growth, City AM reported.
Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors (IoD), labelled the proposals as “economic lunacy”. He said that the ability to access talent workers from overseas as and when needed is vitally important to the UK’s economic prosperity.
“UKIP’s immigration plan is a nightmarish vision of stagnation and irrelevance for Britain. To his credit, at least Nigel Farage is honest about his priorities, admitting earlier this year that he would rather the country were poorer, if it meant lower immigration,” said Mr Walker.
The proposals also came under fire from a number of think-tanks including the Adam Smith Institute. It pointed out the benefits of immigration to the UK and said evidence showed that immigration by low-skilled workers did not affect the number of jobs available for people born in the UK, because immigration leads to demand for services. It said for every job filled by immigrant labour, another needed to be created to meet the needs of that person.
And the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration said that between 2007 and 2011, migrants from within the European Union each paid an average of £2,610 more in tax than they received in benefits every year between 2007 and 2011.