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Britain to limit immigration, report claims

Latest update : 2008-10-18

Pressures placed on the job market by the financial crisis were behind a decision to "balance" the number of people coming in and leaving the country, The Times has quoted the new immigration minister, Phil Woolas, as saying.

Britain will impose tougher restrictions on immigration as the global financial crisis lifts unemployment, the country's new Immigration Minister, Phil Woolas, said in an interview Saturday.

"If people are being made unemployed, the question of immigration becomes extremely thorny," Woolas told The Times newspaper.

"It's been too easy to get into this country in the past and it's going to get harder," he added.

In a dramatic change of policy, the Labour government intends placing a limit on immigration, according to the daily.

"There has to be a balance between the number of people coming in and the number of people leaving," said Woolas.

Britain's unemployment rate jumped to an eight-year high of 5.7 percent in the three months to August, official data showed on Wednesday.

Under the International Labour Organization measure of unemployment, the rate had stood at 5.2 percent for the three months to May.

The 5.7-percent unemployment rate was the highest since the three months to March, 2000.

Date created : 2008-10-18