Immigration is the betrayal of our youth and their future.
Mr Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, will say that tighter immigration controls are vital if Britain is to avoid “losing another generation to dependency and hopelessness”.
He says only immigrants with “something to offer” should be allowed into the country and that too often foreign workers purporting to be skilled take low-skilled jobs that could be occupied by British school leavers.
He warns David Cameron that a “slack” attitude to immigration will result in the Coalition repeating the mistakes made under Labour, when the vast majority of new jobs generated before the recession were taken by immigrants.
His comments represent the strongest criticism of immigration since Downing Street strategists advised that the Government should be tougher on the issue. They will be seen as a warning to Mr Cameron not to allow the Liberal Democrats to dictate a softer policy on the issue.
Mr Duncan Smith, who is in charge of a shake-up of the welfare system, will make his comments in a speech in Spain and they come as official figures show that the UK population is growing at its fastest rate for 50 years, driven by immigration.
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The Work and Pensions Secretary will tell his audience that, before the recession, foreign nationals accounted for a “significant portion” of the rise in employment in Britain.
He will add: “And as we come out the other side we are seeing the situation repeat itself, with more than half of the rise in employment in the past year accounted for by foreign nationals. As a result of the last government’s slack attitude to immigration, it
has become easy for businesses to look abroad for workers.” Mr Duncan Smith believes that some companies are
using immigration as “an excuse to import labour to take up posts which could be filled by people already in Britain”.
He will say: “That’s why we must take tough action on this to tighten the rules on immigration across the major entry routes — work, student visas and family settlement — so that only those who have something clear to offer to the UK are able to come in.”
The Coalition is placing a limit on the number of non-EU workers allowed into the country each year, but Mr Duncan Smith believes that companies and immigrants are still abusing the system
He will say: “I think there’s been a red herring in this debate around skills. A good proportion of foreign nationals in jobs in the UK are in semi or low-skilled occupations.
“And we know that a significant proportion of those coming into the UK purporting to be high-skilled workers have actually been doing low-skilled jobs once in the UK.”
He says Britain needs an immigration system that gives the unemployed “a level playing field”. “If we do not get this right then we risk leaving more British citizens out of work, and the most vulnerable group who will be the most affected are young people,” he will say.
“Controlling immigration is critical or we will risk losing another generation to dependency and hopelessness.”
The warning from Mr Duncan Smith is timely. Recent polling by No 10 indicates that immigration, welfare benefits and crime are key concerns for voters.
Frank Field, the Labour MP and a government adviser on poverty, recently uncovered figures indicating that, in the first year of the Coalition, 87 per cent of the 400,000 newly created jobs went to immigrants.
Mr Duncan Smith had already unveiled plans to simplify the benefits system with a single universal credit designed to ensure that those in work were better off. He also introduced a work programme under which private firms were paid to train and return the long-term unemployed to the workplace.
In a rare speech on immigration earlier this year, Mr Cameron said he wanted to bring annual net migration down to just “tens of thousands” by 2015.