Conservatives are proposing to restrict visas in an effort to reduce immigration

The Conservatives have announced plans for a new annual cap on visas to ensure immigration falls each year during the next parliament.

More than 10,000 migrants have arrived in Britain so far this year after crossing the Channel, and immigration has become a key battleground for the campaign.

The proposed plan would give Parliament a direct role in setting migration levels, with MPs able to vote on the number.

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Rishi Sunak on the Border Agency cutter HMC Seeker during a visit to Dover (Yui Mok/PA)

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “We have taken bold action to reduce the number of people coming to this country. The plan is working, but migration levels are still too high, so we move on.

“Labour’s migrant amnesty will make Britain a global magnet for illegal immigrants and they have no plan to reduce net migration, while we have a clear plan to stop the boats and put a legal cap on numbers .

“The Conservatives are the only party willing to take the bold action needed to reduce immigration rates.”

An annual cap would be imposed on the number of visas that could be granted to those coming to Britain on work or family routes.

Temporary employment routes, such as seasonal agricultural workers, would not fall within the ceiling.

Ministers would ask the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to recommend the size of the annual cap, and the government would then consider the advice and submit a proposal to parliament for a vote.

The Tories say they will inform the committee that their aim is to reduce migration to sustainable levels, so that levels will fall year on year during the next parliament, and that they must consider both the costs and benefits of migration to consider.

The MAC would consult with businesses, the NHS, local authorities and public services and make a recommendation.

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(PA images)

Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the proposed cap on work and family visas was a “meaningless announcement from a Tory party that has tripled net migration since the last election, despite promising to reduce it”.

She said: “All they are doing now is repeating the failed announcements of David Cameron and Theresa May while doing nothing to address the skills shortages and their failures in the economy and the immigration system which have driven down net migration make it rise.

“Why would anyone take seriously a promise that the Tories have repeatedly broken?

“Labour’s plan to reduce net migration will link the immigration system to new mandatory training and workforce plans for British workers, and put an end to rogue employers hiring from abroad.”