David Cameron defends immigration cap

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The Government's immigration cap should not affect inter-company transfers for global firms, David Cameron said today.

The Prime Minister said he wanted to "achieve much better immigration control without disadvantaging business".

The coalition will set an annual cap on non-European immigration in April; in the meantime an interim cap has been imposed.

At Commons question time, Liberal Democrat Sir Robert Smith (W Aberdeenshire and Kincardine) spoke of a "world centre of excellence in sub-sea engineering" in his constituency.

He asked: "Will you ensure that the Home Office meets with concerned local companies about the future of the visa system to ensure that vital inward investment is not lost to this country but supports thousands of local jobs?"

David Cameron replied: "We will certainly do that, but as we look through the last government's points system and immigration policy, we really do believe that it is not going to be difficult to achieve much better immigration control without disadvantaging business.

"For instance, things like inter-company transfers shouldn't be included in what we're looking at.

"So I don't think we'll have a problem, when we look at the very broken system we inherited, no problems on improving on it."

Earlier this week, Lib Dem Lorely Burt (Solihull) also raised the matter in the Commons, warning that extending the cap to inter-company transfers would send a message to global firms: "Yes, we're open for business but you can't come in."