Home Latest What should the UK’s immigration policy be?

What should the UK’s immigration policy be?

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

There are those for whom any limitation on immigration smacks of racialism. It is obtuse and dishonest to claim that wishing to control immigration is quintessentially racialist. The word ‘racist’ is so often used as a thought terminating cliché. It is perhaps the most overused word in the English language. The word is almost threadbare from overuse. The liberal left has become the boy who cried wolf. It has accused even people of good intent and or moderate opinion of racism. 

PROS AND CONS

We heard ad nauseam about the numberless benefactions that immigrants have bestowed on the United Kingdom. In fairness, there certainly are some upsides to immigration. But all too often the liberal left who almost monopolise the media tell the public that all immigrants are actuated solely by the most altruistic motives. Julia Hartley Brewer was a lonely voice when in 2020 she questioned this cant. Why is it that people who moved to work in the National Health Service (NHS) are adulated as selfless? They are not bad people. But as Miss Hartley Brewer said, ‘can we de-canonise them?’ These people are unsaintly. They come for a higher standard of living and a better quality of life. These are understandable and even admirable aspirations. But people who seek these things are not selfless. They are to be welcome and their tremendous contribution merits acknowledgement and gratitude. However, a thankful public should not pretend that those who come to do handsomely remunerated jobs are charity workers. 

As the case for unchecked immigration is constantly expatiated by the liberal left and the media there is no need to retail it here. The manifold virtues of industrious immigrants with their boost to the economy is a moist and overdone tale. Is it racialist because impliedly this tale says that Britishers are lackadaisical?

What are the drawbacks of large-scale immigration? There is a multitude of reasons why huge scale immigration can be harmful.  These reasons include: the economy, overcrowding, public services, social disharmonious relations and the harm wrought on the immigrants’ homelands. 

THE ECONOMY

Immigration is a fillip for the economy. That old chestnut has been shown by Migration Watch to be only partially true. It is the case that immigration can improve certain sectors of the economy depending on the state of the labour market. What about when there is an economic downturn? There was the credit crunch of 2008. A recession or a depression will lead to companies shedding staff or even going under. Immigration aggravates unemployment.

 Some say, ‘they are taking our jobs.’ The liberal left treats this uncontentious statement of fact as a racist myth. The liberal left so often denies easily observable truths. Their rank dishonesty about something so blatant casts grave doubt on their credibility in general. Sometimes immigrants do take jobs that would otherwise go to a native of the host country. A legal immigrant is allowed to take such a job. That reflects well on him or her. He or she is awarded the job for doing it better or at a lower wage. Immigration usually causes wage compression. This impacts the lowest paid. Immigrants tend to move from poorer lands to richer ones. They can undercut the wages of natives of that host country. It is the law of supply and demand. 

For wealthy people immigration can be fantastic. They can employ waiters, gardeners, nannies, drivers and suchlike more easily and more cheaply than before. But for working class people large scale immigration is not an unmixed blessing. 

People say that immigrants only do jobs that Britons will not do. That is another outrageous lie. Some immigrants do highly paid jobs such as accountants and bankers. Even the low paid jobs have some Britishers doing them. There are British cleaners and labourers. 

Employers said they could not get the staff until 2004 when the UK opened to uncontrolled Eastern European immigration. Then employers need to pay more. But since 2004 they have not had to pay more. Therefore, life has got worse for workers. It has been a race to the bottom. That is why we have zero hours contracts. Immigrants are not morally to blame. They have done nothing illegal or unethical, on the whole. It is often businesses that are to blame. But businesses are able to get away with it because of excessive immigration. 

Immigrants tend to move to the most densely populated cities. Woman A asks her friend B to join her who then brings her boyfriend C who asks his brother D to come who invites his colleague E who brings his cousin F and so on. This is called chain migration. There is safety in numbers. Not surprisingly immigrants at first tend to congregate in certain districts of a city. They can have a taste of home in certain cafes and restaurants or by purchasing comestibles that stock repasts from their homeland. 

If immigrants proceeded fanwise across the UK then they would be evenly spread. But they have tended to gather in the largest conurbations. These are London, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and so on. About 90% of immigrants live in one of these four cities. 

OVERCROWDING

Overcrowding in the most crowded cities has therefore been exacerbated by immigration. None of this reflects the least discredit on immigrants. House prices are driven up. In the 1980s a middle class family could afford a good house in a good part of London. In 1982 my family (arguably immigrants) lived in Kensington. That street is now the fifth most expensive in the realm. 

Overcrowding means more people on the trains. It means more traffic jams. Finding a parking space will be even harder.

 A white Briton said to me that this is not down to immigration that there is crowding. Native Britons take up space too. It is true that white Britons or British citizens of any colour do so. But the more people you add the worse the overcrowding is going to get. Could we at least stop making the problem even worse than it already is? 

Liberal leftists say the housing shortage is due to Thatcher selling off council houses. That is partly true. They say it is because the UK does not build sufficient housing stock. Again, there is some merit in this claim. But it is also because of too much immigration. The more people a country has the more accommodation it is going to need. It is a no brainer. 

To build more houses the UK would have to concrete over the green belt. To ruin the countryside is not an ideal solution. The pro mass immigration lobby is liberal left. In other words, it is the same people who are incessantly saying we need to save the environment.

 One partial solution to over crowding is to get over the idea that every child gets his or her own bedroom. From now on two, three or even four children should share bedrooms. They can be siblings, cousins or even the children of family friends. This will also save on heating. Some children sleep 12 to a room and these children are called privileged since they go to fee paying schools. If it is good enough for the upper middle class, then it is good enough for the proletariat. 

DISHARMONY

Some immigrants ghettoise. Some want their own cultural space. Two communities in the same city can grow up as virtual strangers. Unfamiliarity can breed asperity. An immigrant community can imagine it to be far more numerous than it really is because in that area that community is the majority.

There are some people of immigrant descent who have been in the UK for several generations, yet they speak broken English. This is not a sign of a cohesive society. 

The extreme fringe of the Muslim community founded the Muslim Parliament of Britain in 1992. In 1989 some Mohammedans demanded that the Satanic Verses be banned. Some Muslims leaders called for Salman Rushdie to be murdered because he penned a work of fiction. I do not judge most Muslims by these appalling outbursts. I am sorry to say that some of this antediluvian bigotry is supported by a serious minority in the Muslim community. 

Free speech has come under ever greater attack. Free speech was regarded as unassailable as recently as the 1970s. It is immigrants and those of recent immigrant descent who have demanded that scrutinising a religion be criminalised. Their wish has been granted. 

The United Kingdom’s heritage is being trashed. To be sure, the UK has sometimes aggressed other nations. Some Britons committed acts of the uttermost turpitude such as enslaving people and committing atrocities. It is meet that Britons should frankly admit such matters. But the liberal left says that because of immigration the UK most focus on its darkest chapters. The calls for statues to be removed from public places are growing ever louder and more shrill. 

The UK bends over backwards to suit immigrants. Cruelty to animals is allowed so long as you are Jewish are Muslim. It is true that most Jews and most Muslims are not immigrants. They are British citizens. But there was virtually no halal butchering in the UK until the 1960s because the Muslim community was miniscule. Halal butchering and schechita butchering as such do not bother me. But it is wrong that there is not one law for all.

 Sikhs are exempt from wearing motorcycle helmets. Do we not care about them? They have crania too. If they are killed because of not wearing a helmet then the state may have to provide for this man’s children. That is why wearing a skid lid is not just about the individual. If a man suffers grievous brain injuries due to neglecting to wear such a helmet, then the state will have to pay for his care. It is unjust that laws are made for one group of people. That is privileged.

In the armed forces there are uniform modifications for Sikhs. Because the Indian Army the UK already had a tradition of granting such dispensations. But in a unit such as the Footguards this ruins the uniformity. 

In the Republic of Ireland we said no to Sikhs having special headdress in the Gards (police). 

 So often the tail wags the dog due to immigration. 

IMMIGRANTS HOMELANDS

Think of the brain drain other countries have suffered consequent on too many people moving to the UK. This undoes a lot of the aid the UK grants to these lands. 

PUBLIC SERVICES

Look at public services. Yes, yes – some immigrants work in public services and are therefore part of the solution not the problem. But even a nurse needs her children taught. She might need the police, the ambulance service, mountain rescue, the fire brigade, the Royal National Lifeboat Institute and so forth. I would not begrudge her using any of these. But an immigrant who works in public service might still consume more services than she provides. 

If immigrants ONLY worked in public services and never in other sectors, then this argument that immigrants are a net benefit to public services might be cogent. But most immigrants do not work in public services. 

Try teaching a class of 25 when most of the children do not speak English. This is the situation that a few teachers are faced with. Schools have to provide extra English classes to help children catch up.

The police find it much harder to deal with situations when witnesses or suspects do not speak English or at least pretend not to. The same goes for courts. 

 The UK provides free translation services. France would make people pay. Translation services are very pricey. 

Nigel Farage went too far when he said that immigrants should have to have health insurance and pay for state schooling for their children.

EU IMMIGRATION

Now that Brexit is complete it is right to wonder what the United Kingdom’s immigration policy shall be in the long term. The United Kingdom had an open border with European Union countries from 1993 to 2020. This has changed the demographic composition of the UK most considerably. What will effects be? It is hard to say since the owl of Minerva takes wing only at dusk. 

The United Kingdom now has a much larger Polish community than before.  Many of them have attained British citizenship. There were Poles in the UK since 1939. But the post 2004 wave of immigration was much larger than the 1939 wave. Further the 1939 Poles arrived intending to return to Poland as soon as possible. Some of them never found that it was safe to do so. The 1939 Poles mostly intermarried and three generations later many hardly identify as Polish. 

There is also a significant Romanian community. There are people of Lithuanian, Latvian, Bulgarian and Hungarian stock in significant numbers in the UK. 

The United Kingdom even before its reification had many Dutchmen, Frenchmen, Danes and Spaniards come to its shores. People from these nearby lands were nothing new in 1993. What changed was their numbers. 

At the time of the Brexit referendum in 2016 there was net immigration of 350 000 per annum. That is to say that X number of people arrived in the UK. Y number of people left. X – Y = 350 000. 

The excessive amount of immigration was a central plank of the Brexit Campaign. David Cameron had entirely disingenuously vowed to cut immigration to 100 000 net per year in 2015. His government never came anywhere even close to achieving this goal. 

As Cameron well knew it was impossible to stop EU migrants unless that had convictions for the most heinous crimes such as murder. Even then some who had murder convictions were allowed in. For the avoidance of doubt, this article does not imply that most or even many EU immigrants were criminals. The great majority were not. But the government did not conduct even elementary checks to keep out violent criminals. 

Only half the immigration from the UK was from the EU. Therefore, about 175 000 people per annum arrived in the United Kingdom from non-EU countries. Even if Cameron had stopped all non-EU immigration the British Government still not have succeeded in reducing net immigration to 175 000 since net emigration was only in the tens of thousands. 

If the United Kingdom was going to cut immigration significantly then it would have to make it far harder for non-EU people to come in. That would mean denying asylum to those who had a watertight case for it. That would require the UK to prevent families from reuniting. It would obligate the UK to prevent people who were of British stock, but second generation born abroad from coming in. It would require the UK to deny work visas to executives of multinationals and indeed to prevent desperately needed NHS staffs and IT wizards coming in. None of these would be a desirable outcome. 

As Brexit is finalised the United Kingdom can start to feel the benefit of it. Unfortunately, the British people have yet to experience many of the boons of Brexit. Her Majesty’s Government is not capitalising on Brexit as it should be. A Singapore-on-Thames plan for London has yet to even be drafted. However, at least in immigration the UK Government has achieved major improvements.

 Since the 2016 referendum some EU immigrants decided to leave the United Kingdom. Most of them were decent people and a few will have been superb. The UK should be sorry to see the best ones go. There was always some re-emigration by immigrations. But the post 2016 levels were much higher. This started to solve the excessive immigration headache. Further, fewer immigrants than before arrived on Britain’s littoral. 

OPEN BORDERS AND ASYLUM

 I have seen with my own eyes placards are leftist demonstrations ‘Open the Borders. Refugees welcome.’ There are people who suffer a well-founded fear of persecution. These people should be sheltered until such time as it is safe for them to return to their homelands. Some of these refugees might turn out to be such valuable members of the community that they ought to be permitted to remain permanently and be granted citizenship. 

The world ought to put an end to ‘asylum shopping.’ Someone who seeks asylum abroad ought to stop in the first safe country that he or she arrives in. Some people cross a dozen perfectly safe lands to seek asylum in the United Kingdom. 

What will people do to come to the UK? They will mortgage themselves to the hilt. They will splurge their life savings.  They will sell themselves into slavery. They will travel to the country when they speak not one word of English. They will cross borders illegally. They will travel on forged passports. They will travel without any ID in some cases. They will be separated from their friends and family. They will travel without a phone. They will place themselves at the tender mercy of people smugglers. They will allow themselves to be locked into an airtight compartment of a truck. They will cross the open sea on a lilo. They will risk life and limb.  But despite all this we are told that the UK is viciously racialist. Why on earth would so many millions of people (most of them non-white) over the past 30 years have undergone all this to come to the UK if the UK is so racialist? The liberal left has an awful lot of explaining to do. 

So much so that when racialism rears its hideous head people do not see it for what it truly is. Cruel Islamist practices are defended on the basis that one must ‘respect’ cultural differences. The white liberal left is arguing that darker skinned people have fewer rights. The minimum standards they demand for white Christian and post-Christian people they disapply to people from another religious background. Whether it is homosexuality, female genital mutilation or women’s rights – somehow people from non-Western backgrounds do not come under the universality of human rights for the liberal left. 

A NEW POLICY

It is too much hard work to check all the passports of people arriving from the EU.

 There ought to be a favoured nation list. These nations would be fairly affluent and friendly countries. The UK could let people from these countries in for 90 days per year without any checks. They could simply swipe their passports at automatic gates. The idea of the favoured nation list is it would speed up queues at airports, save money and stimulate tourism. Visiting family and friends would count as part of that. 

The favoured nation list would be the following: EU countries , Norway, Switzerland, Monaco, Andorra, the Vatican, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Canada, the USA, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Israel. That would be roughly 40 countries.

 Countries could be added to or removed from the favoured nations list. That would depend on behaviour and affluence. If the Bahamas for example is judged to be rich enough it could be added. 

People from these wealthy countries are very unlikely to stay over without a visa. 

People from favoured nations should be allowed to work for 30 days of those 90 if the work is artistic, musical, performative, or technical support related to the foregoing. Moreover, they would be allowed to take part in conferences or business meetings. This would allow them to be paid for such work. 

The UK should allow work permits to people from the favoured nations list after filling out only one form if these people are qualified to work in certain shortage sectors such as nursing, teaching, medicine or IT. These workers would then ONLY be allowed to work in those sectors. They could bring a spouse who could work in any sector and bring any children under 18. 

The United Kingdom needs immigration. However, it should be a sensible amount of desirable people. What is the ideal figure? The Tory figure of 100 000 a year seemed about right. But was it too low or too high? It is not just a numbers game. It is about people who contribute. 

There always has been immigration and there always shall be. There never have been totally open borders. It would be cataclysmic if there were. I recall asking a class of Korean pupils in the UK is all immigration controls should be done away with. These pupils – none of them British born – all said no. 

The UK is too stingy to people of British stock. In the Irish Republic we are more reasonable. Granting citizenship to anyone with one Irish born grandparent is apt. 

Britons who are married to foreigners should be allowed to bring their foreign spouses in quickly, with a minimum of paperwork and no charges. 

The author of this article abhors racialism in all its manifestations. There are sound reasons to limit immigration, but ethnicity or race does not impinge on these. No one should be mistreated on a racial basis. 

Those who have British citizenship – whatever their race or faith – have the inalienable right to live in the United Kingdom. Even those convicted of murder should not be deprived of this right. 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

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