Boris Johnson has given a cast-iron guarantee that immigration levels will come down if he remains prime minister, despite his commitment to an Australian-style points-based system that experts say would actually see numbers increase.
The Conservatives are proposing new laws to control how many people can move to the UK from abroad post-Brexit, which the party says will mean fewer "unskilled workers" settling in the country.
Speaking to the final instalment of Sophy Ridge On Sunday before voters go to the polls on Thursday, Mr Johnson said he can "make sure that numbers come down" if the Tories win a majority in the general election.
"Numbers will come down because we'll be able to control the system in that way," he told Sky News.
"And what I don't think is right is to have an uncontrolled and unlimited approach to that."
The idea of a points-based system has proved controversial, with former prime minister Theresa May among the doubters who have suggested it could be open to "abuse".
Madeleine Sumption, a member of the committee appointed by the government to look into the Australian scheme, has said that it is generally seen as a liberal model that would increase migration rather than decrease it.
Questioned about using such a system in the UK, Mr Johnson said: "Well it depends how you apply it. The migration advisory committee will tell the government what's happening and we will take a view about how to control it.
He added: "You've got to have a system by which politicians can say to people, 'well yes, we are letting people in but we're doing it in a way that is controlled and checked'."
According to an Australian parliamentary report from last December, overseas migration has become the main driver behind population growth in the country since the mid-2000s.
It made up about 64% of the overall increase in 2017.
Mr Johnson insisted he was "not hostile to immigration" and was happy to welcome people "if they have talents" and if they can "contribute to our country".
He detailed three categories of migrants that he would like to be able to welcome to the UK post-Brexit.
"People who, you know, are first violinists, nuclear physicists, prima ballerinas, whatever - they're going to come in, startup kings and queens, they're going to come in, simply by virtue of what they can contribute," he said.
"Then there will be skilled workers and we'll have a system so people can come in to work in the NHS or whatever.
"And then there'll be another sector, which is for a sector-specific group who won't have an automatic right to stay but come to do particular jobs and stay for a while."
Home Secretary Priti Patel outlined the plan for a so-called "NHS visa" earlier in the election campaign, during which opposition parties have sought to question Tory plans for the health service.
The prime minister has batted away suggestions the NHS will be "on the table" in US trade talks, and has defended his claim that an extra 50,000 nurses will be recruited despite 18,500 of them already being in the NHS.
Meanwhile, Labour plans to introduce free personal care for older people with £10bn of additional funding by 2023-24.
The party highlighted government figures showing that nearly 15 pensioners a day run out of money, struggling to cover the costs of care.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the social care crisis "was created by the Tories".
He added: "I want everyone to be able to live with dignity, which is why we will start by introducing free personal care for older people."
The Liberal Democrats have promised to tackle regional inequality across the UK and is pledging £50bn to invest outside of London if they win power.
The money would go on improving broadband services, more charging points for electric cars, electrifying railways and sustainable infrastructure projects.
Watch the full interview with Boris Johnson on Sophy Ridge On Sunday from 8.30am on Sky News.
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