BORIS Johnson will break his promise to reduce immigration if he gives semi-skilled workers the right to enter Britain, a campaign group has warned.
The PM is under mounting pressure from businesses to agree to allow work permits for lower-paid jobs such as construction.
But that would soon see the level of newcomers to the country start to spiral again, a new report by Migration Watch UK has found.
The pressure group insisted it will take “all his determination and commitment” for the PM to continue to force immigration down, with some key early decisions imminent.
The Tory leader issued an election promise to reduce the level of net migration from the last recorded figure of 212,000 a year, but he would not say by how much.
Experts have warned that his plans for an Australian-style points-based system for workers within the EU and outside of it could instead raise it unless tight controls are enforced on it.
Migration Watch UK said: “Just days before the general election the Prime Minister undertook to get immigration down.
“Unless the government exercises great caution, especially in the early stages, numbers could well rise sharply”.
As well as a cap on work permits for skilled workers, the pressure group insisted the skills threshold the permits – currently set at A-Level and above – must also be maintained.
It also wants to see the salary threshold of £30,000 a year not to be reduced, with some Cabinet ministers already pushing to lower it to £21,000.
And it is calling for the suspension of all specific schemes to bring in low-skilled workers except for seasonal farmhands.
Migration Watch UK Chairman Alp Mehmet said: “An Australian points-based system is not in itself the magic wand that will do it.
“The wand has to be waved in a way suited to UK needs if immigration numbers are not to spin out of control again.
“Should they fail to deliver yet again, the Conservatives’ credibility will be shot with the public and it won’t be just to their new supporters that they could be saying goodbye.”