In a bid to retain her place at Downing Street, the Prime Minister claimed she is “working” towards the target.
Speaking during her time campaigning in Yorkshire, Mrs May said: “We're working to bring immigration down to the tens of thousands, but having been there as home secretary for six years, this isn't something that you can just produce the magic bullet that suddenly does everything – what you have to do is keep working at it."
Theresa May reveals her aim to reduce net migration by 2022 Snap election 2017: The pictures politicians may not want you to see Sat, May 27, 2017
Protests, fights and daleks, it's all happening as the politicians hit the campaign trail for the snap election
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Jeremy Corbyn during a visit to Hackney Marshes Football Pitches, to highlight Labour's manifesto commitment to ensure 5% of the Premier League's television rights income is diverted to the grassroots game, during a General Election campaign
We want to see migration levels come down to sustainable levels
Policing minister, Brandon Lewis
Minutes before she revealed details on her manifesto pledge, policing minister Brandon Lewis said they were working to reduce migration, but “over the course of the next Parliament”.
He added: "We want to see migration levels come down to sustainable levels, which we think is tens of thousands, over the course of the next parliament."
The challenging target, which has not been met since Gordon Brown was Prime Minister in 2009, has been included in previous Tory manifesto’s of 2010 and 2015.
An anti-Theresa May election campaign poster in Greater Manchester
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A Migration camp in Greece where are left isolated
But it is the first time Mrs May has come close to setting a timetable to reduce the movement of people.
In a brutal interview last week, Jeremy Corbyn said he is “making no promises” to cut immigration.
Instead, he vowed to deal with the “immigration issue on the basis of necessary family reunions”, as he spoke to BBC’s Andrew Neil.
Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of Migration Watch, disparaged both parties plans and said they lacked specific details.
He added: “The Labour manifesto makes it clear that they have little desire to reduce present levels of immigration – indeed, the specific measures mentioned here are likely to increase it.
“On the other hand, the Conservative manifesto is strong on intention but with little detail on how, in practice, immigration is to be reduced.”
Business groups such as CBI have raised concerns about the target, claiming the Conservatives are using a "blunt approach" which risked hobbling UK firms trying to attract overseas talent.