Having previously reviewed the Conservative Party’s “go-it-alone” immigration policies in our news article here, in this article we consider the potential impact on immigration policy of a future minority government in conjunction with the Democratic Unionist Party (“DUP”).
Throughout the election campaign, the Conservatives maintained their commitment to reducing net migration to the tens of thousands, either by 2022 or some indeterminate date thereafter depending upon the interviewee. The DUP manifesto, “Standing Strong for Northern Ireland”, by contrast is near silent on the subject of immigration dealing almost exclusively with colloquial issues.
DUP immigration policy is covered in the briefest of terms at a lowly number 20 in the party’s list of proposals. The DUP aim is for an “effective immigration policy which meets the skills, labour and security needs of the UK.” That’s it. Nothing else. Probably because it never assumed to be in a position of influencing power, its manifesto does not go into detail about how the need for both high and low skilled labour will be satisfied outside the union.
More seasoned political commentators than this correspondent assert that the DUP is pragmatic about immigration; that “an immigration policy that meets the skills needs of the UK” is more relaxed than Theresa May’s commitment to the net migration target of tens of thousands.
There are two other notable inclusions in the DUP manifesto. First, and of some comfort, the party calls for the rights of EEA nationals and their family members already living in the UK to be safeguarded, with reciprocal rights for UK nationals living in the EU. Secondly, the DUP is committed to ensuring that Northern Ireland receives in full what is paid in by Northern Ireland companies as part of the new Apprenticeship Levy under Tier 2.
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