Managed Migration, a Conservative campaign group, is calling on prime minister David Cameron to drop the net migration target.
Cameron has stated that he aims to cut net migration to the tens of thousands before the next general election. As part of this, the coalition has introduced a raft of measures designed to limit the number of people accessing UK work permits and various types of visas.
The decision to limit immigration has been criticised by various business groups and left-wing politicians in recent years. However, the latest round of opposition has come from a Conservative group.
Managed Migration reportedly has the support of “up to 20” Conservative MPs and is led by Mark Field MP. A statement on the website explains that although the Tories are seen to be hostile to immigration, they actually share many positive qualities with immigrants.
“There are many minority and migrant communities who are bursting with the sort of entrepreneurial vision and family commitment that should make them natural Conservatives – but they are hardly going to embrace our Party if we are rarely seen to embrace them,” he explained.
An argument put forward by Reason 24/7 assistant editor Matthew Feeney praised Managed Migration's approach and suggested that the broader viewpoint of the Tories as a whole was inconsistent.
“There is inconsistency in believe in the free movement of goods but not of people,” he wrote, adding that recent studies state that immigrants are net contributors to public finances and should be encouraged for the sake of economic growth. Further evidence has demonstrated that immigrants are responsible for setting up a large number of businesses in the UK, highlighting the value of encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit present in many people applying for visas and work permits.