Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has claimed that British businesses are addicted to cheap labour from overseas that has been available as part of the European Union.
Mr Johnson, a key campaigner in the Leave campaign during the EU referendum, claimed that companies must stop ‘mainlining’ workers from overseas.
He said: “For 25 years UK business and industry have been mainlining immigration like a kind of drug without actually investing enough or caring enough about the skills and the training of young people in our country.”
The number of EU citizens coming to the UK because of the bloc’s freedom of movement rules was one of the key issues in the referendum in June.
Unlike countries outside of the EU which require UK visas to work in Britain, people from EU countries are able to freely come and work in Britain.
Mr Johnson said that the number of people coming to Britain from the EU, estimated at 175,000 net in the latest statistics, was too high and there should be more control.
He added: “I want skilled and talented people to come to the UK if they want to fulfil their dreams in our country - I have no problem with that provided we have control.”
Working out a new visa system for EU nationals coming to the UK and for UK citizens travelling to the EU will play a key part in the Brexit negotiations.
There is still no official word on when Prime Minister Theresa May will invoke Article 50 for the UK to officially leave the Union. However, Mr Johnson suggested it should be before May next year when the next elections to the European Parliament will take place.