Official says Britain to cut immigration

Oct. 18, 2008 at 3:36 PM

LONDON, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- England will impose strict limits on immigration amid fears that rising joblessness could heighten racial tensions, an official said.

Britain's new immigration minister, Phil Woolas, said he wanted to see a dramatic reduction in the number of migrants coming to Britain, The Times of London reported Saturday.

"If people are being made unemployed, the question of immigration becomes extremely thorny ... . It's been too easy to get into this country in the past and it's going to get harder," the Labor Party minister said.

Woolas said government ministers intend to introduce changes that will allow for a set a limit on immigrants.

"This government isn't going to allow the population to go up to 70 million. There has to be a balance between the number of people coming in and the number of people leaving."

Until now, the British government has shied away from curbing immigration, the newspaper said.

"His predecessor and the Home secretary have made it very clear they do not support a quota," said Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.

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