Employers will be asked to help set the government’s planned cap on immigration amid Cabinet worries about the impact of the policy.
The coalition is planning to implement a Conservative election promise to put a ceiling on the number of migrants allowed to enter the UK from outside the European Union each year.
In response to these concerns, home secretary Theresa May is set to announce a wide-ranging consultation over the planned cap, the Telegraph has reported.
May will ask business lobby groups, company executives and university leaders for detailed recommendations on how many people should enter the UK each year.
But Home Office sources were last night adamant that even though the government is prepared to listen to concerns about immigration, the total number of new arrivals will still be capped.
“There will be a cap on immigration,” a source told the Telegraph. “This is what the British people voted for and this is what we will do.”
The Conservatives have never said what level they would set for the immigration cap, promising to base their final figure on the wider needs of the economy. During the general election campaign, David Cameron said the cap would mean net immigration to the UK is in the “tens of thousands” instead of the hundreds of thousands as it has been in recent years.