MPs suggest selling UK visas to highest bidders

03 Jun 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A group of Tory MPs have put forward an alternative approach to allocating visas and suggested that some UK visas should be auctioned off to the highest bidders.

The group of backbenchers from the Free Enterprise Group have claimed that selling UK visas to wealthy foreigners and companies willing to bid for the right to bring overseas employees to the UK would attract business to Britain and potentially cut the number of immigrants that are likely to claim benefits.

George Freeman and Kwasi Kwarteng, both from the Conservative Party, put their names to the paper, urging ministers to bring in “market-based immigration visas”. They stated: “The government should reform our immigration system to make it easier for entrepreneurs, stop welfare eligibility for immigrants, and auction visas to companies or high net worth individuals. This would ensure that the people coming to Britain are those who would add signification value to the economy.”

They added that selling visas would be “less bureaucratic than today’s system” and would allow the government to manipulate the flow of migrants by adjusting the price of the system, presumably allowing for a drop in price when more overseas workers are required and an increased cost when only the most financially valuable migrants are wanted.

The visa proposals are part of a wider ranging plan put forward by the Free Enterprise Group to overhaul economic and industrial policies. It also called for the development of competition between utility companies, transport firms and banks; as well as tax breaks and other forms of state assistance for new firms looking to break into established markets.

“Britain should become the friendliest nation for start-ups in the world. Instead of fearing competition, we should encourage it,” the report added.