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    Britain to cut immigration due weak economy-minister

    Reuters
    18.10.2008 - 14:11 | Son Güncelleme: 18.10.2008 - 14:11

    Britain plans to reduce immigration in the face of a weakening economy and rising unemployment, the Times newspaper quoted Immigration Minister Phil Woolas as saying on 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," Woolas told the paper in an interview.

     

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

     

    At a time of economic difficulties, employers should put British people first or they will risk fuelling racism, Woolas said.

     

    Immigration has been high under the Labor government which came to power in 1997, and the Times said net immigration is estimated to be more than 200,000 a year until 2012.

     

    Woolas also said he opposed an amnesty for people who came to Britain illegally because it would encourage more illegal immigrants.

     

    The government recently adopted a system under which would-be migrants are awarded points depending on their value to the British economy, designed to encourage skilled immigrants and reduce the number of unskilled economic migrants.

     

    Britain's population is around 61 million.

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