Good immigration

 

                    Today the Prime Minister takes time out from his efforts to lead NATO’s response to Libya and the UN to talk to us about immigration.

                    His general theme will be popular with many. He wants good immigration, not mass immigration. The question is, are Ministers now delivering this?

                     Most people agree our universities should be able to obtain visa for students coming here to study. Most also agree bogus Colleges set up to get people round the other immigration rules should be stopped.

                      Most agree that people with special skills we need should be granted visas and work permits. Many also agree that we need to find a way of getting more people already living here legally back to work or into work.

                       Contributors to this site have expressed many concerns about the position in the Information technology industry and the government’s approach to contractors and shorter term permits.

                       It would be useful on a day when the PM himself sets out a more controlled approach to debate whether the new  approach is working. Are the rules sensible? Do they achieve the desired aim?

                     One of the problems with this whole policy area is the fact that Labour gave away the UK’s opt out from the common borders policy within the EU. The Uk government can today only settle an immigration policy for people coming from outside the EU. Migration from within the EU is determined by the common policy and by the success of all EU members at controlling their system.

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

73 Comments

  1. norman
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    As someone married to a non-EU immigrant (I was actually working abroad and we married and lived there before coming here so I’m not sure if she married an immigrant or if I did!) I have had frequent dealings with the Home Office. The rules (and fees!) are quite strict for people coming into the UK from outside the EU but, as touched on above, the elephant in the room is the EU.

    If a non-EU national marries an EU national and they come to the UK (and you’d be surprised at how large that number is) there are zero fees to pay, zero rules to follow, and it doesn’t matter if you are here on a tourist visa or whatever. You’re entitled to full access to public fees (including, here in Scotland, free University / College place) whereas an immigrant married to a Brit is entitled to nothing (I’m not complaining, just pointing out the discrepancy). You are automatically granted a 5 year ‘leave to remain’ visa and at the end of that you can apply for your UK passport or get another rubber stamped ‘indefinite leave to remain’. I know of numerous cases where this is being abused but because it is an EU competence nothing can be done.

    As for Indian IT workers I’m sure I read about some special deal struck with India that comes into place in a year or two (they always do) that will make it even easier.

    That’s why you can ignore anything said today, it’ll just be stuff and nonsense. I don’t know if it’s this way as part of Labour’s plan to ‘stuff it to the right’ via immigration or if sheer incompetence has led us to this pass but it’s too late to do anything about immigration now.

  2. foundavoice
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    “One of the problems with this whole policy area is the fact that Labour gave away the UK’s opt out from the common borders policy within the EU. The Uk government can today only settle an immigration policy for people coming from outside the EU. Migration from within the EU is determined by the common policy and by the success of all EU members at controlling their system.”

    Are we sovereign or not? If we are, they we can do what we want. Can a Parliament bind another? Supposed to be ‘no’, so we can do what we want.

    All that is missing is the political will. My intelligence is insulted yet again.

    • Andrew Johnson
      Posted April 14, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      I agree, and have blogged this very point several times. According to the British constitution, Parliament is sovereign and can make or unmake any law whatsoever by a majority of just 1 vote.
      As things stand at present, Britain is no longer in control of its own borders. I see an Oxford University study has recently made the somewhat obvious point that all statistics relating to numbers in and numbers out are suspect. Add to this, no records are kept of the ethnicity of people for all kinds of services, jobs, education, benefits, housing, medical care etc. We do not know how many people are in Great Britain, neither do we know whether immigration is a financial benefit or not, because there is insufficient data.
      I was listening to someone say they live in Bognor where it is estimated 11,00o Poles have settled. Again it is estimated that we have 2% of Somalia’s population in Britain. What ever this is, it is not controlled immigration. I am for controlled immigration and a sensible quota for genuine asylum seekers.
      With comparatively few exceptions in the three major parties, all the leaders and their MP’s want to continue the surrender of our sovereignty to the unelected, unaccountable monolith that is the EU. I don’t know why they want to do this, or why, if they feel EU membership is so important, they don’t put the issue to the electorate in a referendum and campaign on the benefits of belonging to the EU, thus settling the issue once and for all.
      As far as Mr. Cameron’s speech is concerned, I’m old enough to have learned to judge politicians by their deeds and not their words.

  3. Electro-Kevin
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    “One of the problems with this whole policy area is the fact that Labour gave away the UK’s opt out from the common borders policy within the EU. The Uk government can today only settle an immigration policy for people coming from outside the EU.”

    Oh well. That’s that then.

    But when it comes to MPs and ministers telling us that we must cut jobs and services to fight the deficit might we include in that the number of politicians we employ ?

    They seem totally ineffective at representing gravest of public concerns and there seems to be very little point in having them.

  4. Stuart Rose
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    We are all enlightened enough these days to understand that the government is the worst placed of all our institutions to manage the supply of important commodities – but for some reason we still believe the government should control the supply of labour? That government planners should ensure that we only get ‘good’ immigration or only ‘skilled’ workers can get Visas.

    Why would labour be the exception to the well-understood rule?

  5. lifelogic
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    As you say “Labour gave away the UK’s opt out from the common borders policy within the EU” so there is nothing they can do on the bulk of it short of leaving the EU as they should. Out side this the EU arrangements for relatives, sham marriages and a lack of any real control mean there no effective control anyway.

    They should do what they can encourage social integration by preventing denominational schools and segregated areas/schools where all are from a single community. This is bound to incubate future problems as even Ireland (without even the cultural and language barriers) showed very clearly.

    As they have clearly given up on border controls they need to reduce benefits for all as they cannot run a big benefits system without border controls. Paying benefits for children who do not even reside in the UK but in the EU is madness. The policy in effect fixes wages at not much more that the minimum wage for nearly all jobs outside a few protected professions.

    You say “Migration from within the EU is determined by the common policy and by the success of all EU members at controlling their system.” Has the EU ever controlled anything efficiently to the benefit of the people? Everything they touch has been a disaster – CAP, the common fisheries policy, carbon restrictions, waste regulations, border controls, over regulation, VAT.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 14, 2011 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      I missed off the other disasters the ERM and the Euro.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 14, 2011 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        Why on earth, if the NHS is such a marvel as so many seem to think, does the UK have one of the highest still birth rates for a rich country as the BBC and Lancet report today?

  6. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    I deal a lot with immigrants – mainly from Eastern Europe. Fine people who work hard and look disdainfully at those on the dole. They are bursting to learn English.
    What impressed me on the plane home from Dubai was the way that so many Indians and Arabs are pleased to use British fashions, to dress like British, to speak English and to eat British food on the plane. They are also (usually) good tempered too and they are rapidly adapting their (excellent) sense of humour.
    I cannot help feeling that our civilization is, despite our very best efforts, is rapidly filling the globe, and that the “Arab Spring” is the result of this.

  7. Mark M
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    “The Uk government can today only settle an immigration policy for people coming from outside the EU”

    Not entirely true. We can always leave the EU. When all the recent immigrants start claiming benefits (as our opt-out on that ends soon) you can bet the eurosceptic movement will pick up yet more steam.

  8. Martin
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I’m confused about ” gave away the UK’s opt out from the common borders policy within the EU”.

    Why then do I have to show a passport when arriving from an EU country.?
    Are these checks meaningless? Could the government save a few Pounds by dumping these checks?

    Rep: NO you still need to check they are people from an EU country

    • HJBBradders
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Surely, if there really were effective checking of the nationalities of passengers disembarking, within the EU, from flights originating in countries outside the EU, then it would not be necessasary to check passengers on intra-EU flights. One could argue that the present method picks up the presence of non-EU residents; but what an inefficient way of doing this.

    • Martin
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      I often wonder if the real reason that the last government didn’t sign up for the entire Schenegen agreement was that the Schenegen external immigration rules were more strict than the then UK rules!

  9. Nick
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Always ask the question – what aren’t politicians saying.

    So what’s John not talking about, and Cameron too.

    It’s illegal migration. With over one million illegal migrants in the UK, they aren’t being kicked out. If they stay hidden for long enough, they then appeal on human rights grounds that they have settled, and it would be an abuse to remove them.

    End result, we are stuffed with low earners, competing against people on benefits.

    It’s also the reason from the Lib Dems for their ‘universal pension’ based on residency. They can give all the illegal migrants 350,000 pounds worth of pension, with health care on top once they reach 66.

  10. Stephen Almond
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    “Labour gave away the UK’s opt out from the common borders policy within the EU…”

    Why can a Conservative government not take back such an opt out from the EU?

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      Because they don’t want to.

  11. alan jutson
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    John

    Your last paragraph sums it up exactly.

    Hundreds of thousands can pour in from the EU and we can do little about it, unless we leave, or renegotiate the open borders policy (some hope).

    Outside the EU we can do somthing, but its too little to make a very big difference

    Whilst it may be too little too late, we should have a period of absolutely nil immigration, until a real, sustainable and workable system can be formed.

  12. Richard
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I agree with all you say.
    We will be unable to control immigration ,now or in the future, because over 80% of the people who come here, come from within the EU, so unless we alter this situation very little control can be established.

    We need to change our asylum policy where we accept here, anyone from any other nation who declares themselves in need of sanctury.
    The treaty was signed in an era when the jet aircraft wasn’t so easily available, and it should now be modified to only allow refugees asylum in the closest safe country to their own.

    A few years ago a member of my family decided to move to Canada and he had to have a interview, followed by a medical, he had to find a sponsor, show he had a permanent job, prove he had somewhere to live, had back up savings to support himself and to take out private medical insurance.
    He was told there were no state benefits for the first few years after his arrival and was also warned that any serious breeches of the law would see him removed.

    Why we never copied these simple rules is a mystery to me.

  13. Winston Smith
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Cameron is taking a pounding and the Party is losing voters and haemorraging members. So, the masters of spin in his clique come up with a masterplan; give a purely fatuous speech about immigration, talk tough. They really believe we are all idiots. I boarded the tube this morning and (was surrounded by people from other countries speaking a range of languages-ed) The only people who will believe anything is being done about mass immigration are those living in the leafy shires, yet to feel the real ‘benefits’.

    What plans do the Government have for free movement into the UK for Bulgarians and Romanians, next year?

    Reply: I myself would like the UK to get back powers over its own borders from the EU. If we do n ot then all EU countries are under EU open b orders policies. There are now many visitors to London which we welcome, and many people here on work permits who do a good job. The issue is how we can get more of our own citizens into work.

  14. zorro
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    John,
    It is easy to announce changes, it is how they are delivered that counts. This new PBS system was always supposed to be ‘tougher’ (introduced under Labour) than what had come before. But what was delivered? Many thousands of bogus students at establishments that had somehow got through the more stringent checks. There has been much tinkering. I’s not the ‘how’ it’s the ‘who’ is delivering. Big cuts to personnel and budgets (real terms) to Home Office may make this even more difficult. Student numbers have doubled in the last 6 years. I’m not sure if there is much difference figures wise since May 2010.
    There is an interesting link to a MigrationWatch study on the effects of Tier 2 Intra Company Transfers which were discussed here previously….http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefingPaper/document/224
    Without going into too much detail, it is how policies are enforced which counts, not how they are announced. New announcements on Intra Company Transfers can be easily circumvented as the 40,000 pounds ‘salary’ pa still includes expenses. This was picked up at the last Public Accounts Committee hearing into the NAO report on PBS employment routes. There will probably be more of a revolving door as people can also come in for up to a year being paid a salary of 24,000 pounds. The tax situation with regards to British workers on those on ICTs is iniquitous and unfair.

    zorro

  15. Gary
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    “Most agree that people with special skills we need should be granted visas and work permits. Many also agree that we need to find a way of getting more people already living here legally back to work or into work.”

    Unfortunately, the system around economic migration does not work like that. The best test that someone has special skills rather than cheaper skills is salary. The UKBA set their appropriate rate salaries well below what an average UK worker doing the same job would be paid.

    They actually released new updated salaries for IT workers at the start of March which were increased to national median salaries, but pulled them a week later after pressure from employers and “Intellect UK” (which represents most of the biggest foreign company users of the intra company transfer route). Apparently, having to pay their migrant workforce as much as UK workers would significantly increase their costs and affect their profitablility.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted April 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      this should be on the front page of every newspaper

  16. English Pensioner
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    You can’t separate immigration to this country from the reasons why people want to come, and stay here. Whilst some come here because they want to study, or maybe just learn the language with no intention of staying permanently, most come because life is easier and better than in their own countries.
    I don’t blame them for this, but blame our lawmakers for making it that way, and the main cause is the Human Rights Act.
    Because of this act, we can’t
    a. Deport anyone who has managed to find a partner in this country (right to family life)
    b. Deport anyone who might be in danger in their own country or liable to be sent to prison for a crime there (as the trial would not be fair or the sentence excessive)
    c. Fail to provide them with food and shelter if they haven’t any money or a job
    d. Fail to provide them with health care (whereas the most they would get elsewhere, unless insured, is emergency treatment).
    e. Fail to provide them with legal aid and interpreters to contest any action against them by the state.

    No wonder they try to come here, wouldn’t anyone if they were homeless and starving?

    No one should be allowed in unless they can show that they have sufficient money to support themselves for a reasonable period and have health insurance. People applying for longer term residence should also have to show they have no criminal record, nor any communicable disease. They should also be required to speak and read English to an acceptable standard.

    In addition, anyone who commits any serious offence should face automatic deportation regardless of any status they might have acquired here, and the human rights act should only apply in full to British born British citizens, otherwise it should apply only to the extent that it would in the immigrants’ country of origin.
    We should stop providing any paperwork in languages other than English (or Welsh if appropriate), these are our official languages, nor should we provide interpreters.
    If the do-gooders don’t like this hard approach, why don’t they set up a genuine (not state supported) charity to provide these things for immigrants and see how much money they can collect from the public for their cause!
    But first we must get rid of the Human Rights Act or amend it so that anyone’s right has to be balanced against the rights of the majority.

    Frankly I don’t trust Cameron’s motivation for saying raising the subject at this time, could it be because of the council elections ans the possibility that the BNP might make more gains, or even that he is worried that we might have AV and even end up with the BNP represented in parliament?

  17. Peter Kellard
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    You emphasise that the UK Government has control over migration from outside the EU and yet what do they do?

    They put the interest of big business and foreign service companies before the interest of the people of this country. These companies are receiving financial support in the form of tax free allowances which actively encourages them to bring migrant workers into the UK through intra-company transfers (ICT) rather than use resident workers or suppliers. The Governments own independently appointed economists, who sit on the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), advised that this practice should stop because of the loss of tax revenue and the unfair position it puts resident companies and workers in. The Governments response was to ignore the MAC.

    The new £24,000 salary limit introduced in April 2011 for ICT workers entering the UK will see 92% of advertised IT positions undercut. This is a sector of the economy which is especially vulnerable to the use of ICT workers who are ‘onshored’ to the UK. As a result resident jobs are being lost, skills are being lost and over £250 million in revenue is being lost each year.

    Google ‘ict lost revenue video’ there are a lot of freedom of information requests on this the government would rather you didn t see.

  18. NickW
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    There is a good chance that Tunisians entering the EU via Italy will be helped on their way to the UK by France and Italy.

    What can be done to stop the EU from dumping its immigration problems on the UK?

  19. Johnnydub
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    “Migration from within the EU is determined by the common policy and by the success of all EU members at controlling their system.”

    Even this is not completely straight – witness the Italians handing out 28000 “tourist” visas to the recent North African arrivals – and then pointing to Sangatte etc

    Successive politicians Signing up to more and more EU legislation constitutes a fundamental abdication of their principle responsibilities and an abondenment of democratic representation.

    Simply put – we can’t control our borders, we can’t control our budget (EU Bailouts) and Parliament is clearly no longer sovereign – e.g. Prisoner votes.

    So John, what are you and your colleagues going to do to address this – right now “not bloody much” seems to be the response.

  20. APL
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    JR: “He wants good immigration, not mass immigration.”

    How about we get good education not crap education, that way we can produce the worlds best programmers, lawyers, Engineers and so on.

    If our education system was half as good as you ‘pols’ maintain, we would not need to import these skills.

    Oh and by the way, we all know Cameron is lying about his intentions regarding immigration. As we see in Italy right now. Lybia is allowing all its magreb migrants across the mediteranian (previously they restricted their passage) into Italy. Italy simply gives them EU citizen status and encourages them across the border into France. £10 says Sangatt will be open inside 18 months and full of north african migrants trying to get to the UK welfare niravana.

    Cameron will do nothing about it!

    • Iain Gill
      Posted April 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      we dont “need” to import these skills, they are imported simply because Indian nationals (the largest non EC group coming in) are cheaper

      i didnt spot India being granted entry to the EC and I dont feel I should have to compete with their workers here

      (claims unrestricted entry is damaging to Uk job seekers-ed)

    • Simon
      Posted April 14, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      APL ,

      What makes you think there is a shortage of suitably skilled British software developers ?

      Our best developers are as good as those of any other country of the World and our average developers are generally quite a bit better .

      There is only a certain percentage of people in any country who have the aptitude required to become a good software developer .

      I’ve worked with Indian developers for over 20 years and have seen that quality decline as every Tom Dick and Harry has gone into it .

      Why is public money being wasted on educating British Computer Science graduates when the political elite have decided that the British I.T. industry and their profession is to be sacrificed ?

      • APL
        Posted April 15, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        Simon: “What makes you think there is a shortage of suitably skilled British software developers ?”

        My complaint was focused on the British state education system that turns out 20% illiterate and innumerate, year after year.

        ‘Jamies dream school’ if a true representation was more of a bloody nightmare.

        Simon: “when the political elite have decided that the British I.T. industry and their profession is to be sacrificed ?”

        Best direct that question to John Redwood. His party is in government and in a position to change the situation …. if they could all pause a while from excluding themselves from the tax regime they impose on the rest of us.

        Iain Gill: “i didnt spot India being granted entry to the EC and I dont feel I should have to compete with their workers here”

        Yea but they are in the commonwealth.

      • stuart
        Posted April 16, 2011 at 2:00 am | Permalink

        I’m a programmer and have been for 14 years. I’m one of the lucky ones for the time being, but over the last 14 years or so, I have seen IT jobs outsourced over to India, and the only reason is because they are cheaper.

        I can’t comment about quality of work but lets be clear, average programming salary 30K vs Indian salary 4K. The governments have done absolutely nothing to help people in this country and I will never vote for Labour or Conservative or Libs, because they do not listen.

        I have friends and family who struggle, because of the impact of cheap labour. One family member was a forklift truck driver, who was on a good wage – but now because of the cheap Eastern European labor, employers have lower their wages. I have another friend who is a qualified electrician/plumber – but he now works in a phone shop because he could not complete with the Eastern Europeans who undercut him.

        I’m not racist, couldn’t give a damn about color of skin, but at what stage do you say enough is enough. We still have not been offered a vote on staying in the EU?

        I’m voting UKIP (Again) and I hope everybody else does, beccause neither the current government or Labour (who created this mess) will.

  21. Scottspeig
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    “The Uk government can today only settle an immigration policy for people coming from outside the EU” – Only because parliament refuse to do anything about it!

    You could and should bring about legislation (or revoke) in order that we can take back control of our borders.

  22. Anthony Harrison
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Your closing para is telling: as I heard Nigel Farage say on BBC radio news this morning, this country cannot both maintain control over its own borders AND remain in the EU. But as you say, the UK “..can today only settle an immigration policy for people coming from outside the EU”, and that would be something – if it chose to do so. Sadly, the overriding problem “with this whole policy area” is that very few people seem to believe that Cameron means what he says on immigration control. There’s an election coming up, people say, so Cameron utters a few words meant to sound tough and reassuring. We’ve heard it all before. We do not believe that Cameron – still less his coalition colleagues – has the desire, the will, the determination, to take radical steps to curb levels of immigration liable otherwise to push us over 70 million within a few years.
    You mention incoming students; these number a third of a million annually – and apart from the bogus ones, and those who abuse their presence here in order to participate in the jobs market, the fact is that there are virtually no meaningful measures to ensure that they leave when their time is up.
    You mention the IT industry, a weeping sore of abuse which permits the ingress of many thousands of IT workers from the Subcontinent and their dependents as well, who have access to UK benefits, taking jobs from Brit workers while being paid far less than the going rate by their Indian employers.
    Even Cameron’s fine words indicate a degree of concern that merely tinkers with the system – and will not, we can guarantee, he will not even live up to his token pre-election words. It is specious PR of the most blatant sort. Very few will take him seriously unless and until there is demosntrable, radical, far-reaching action. I’m not holding my breath.
    Oh, and Cameron approves of Turkey’s admission to the EU. I wonder what the immigration implications of that would be….

  23. norman
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Further to my earlier comment, just wanted to add another thing to show you how ludicrous this all is. In Scotland we’re having a debate at the moment about University funding (less of a debate, more of a sticking heads in the sand from SNP, Labour and Lib Dem) and one of the ideas is to charge English students a similar amount as they’d pay in England.

    Of course, due to European rules EU students (and their EU or non-EU partners) will be able to study free in Scottish Universities (as EU rules say that they have to be treated the same as Scots, although why English don’t as England isn’t a separate country, or something, who knows how the illogic of it all works).

    The principals here say that they won’t let this happen but will force EU students to pay too so it seems Scottish Universities are a hot bed of activism for leaving the EU!

  24. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Cameron could show he means business by sacking that clown Cable, who has publicly criticised his immigration speech before he has even made it. The job as Business Secretary would suit your talents admirably – pity(this is meant to be irony) that you are not a LibDem!

  25. Javelin
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    There is a direct conflict between EU workers and company directors.

    Company directors are legally bound to get as cheap as labour as possible to maximise their profits – if this means they can get away with bringing cheap labour from non-EU countries for 6 months – then they will. And they will keep bringing in back-to-back 6 month contracts until it looks like a permanent worker.

    I think this boils down to a wider responsibility companies have to the society in which they operate. If you stand in Canary Wharf you will see (and hear) many thousands of non-EU workers who have been brought in as cheap labour. If you walk outside to the East End you will see many thousands of unemployed young Londoners. I understand the unskilled young Londoners will not be able to do the jobs of the skilled non EU migrants – but if you force the banks to employ and train graduates (as they used to) then everybody will move up the food chain until jobs are made available for the Londoners.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Javelin

      Exactly

      Try to train everyone to move one step further up the ladder, and you make room at the bottom for the less able. Never know, once they actually get into work, they may decide to ty and climb the ladder themselves.

      But the benefits system needs to be fixed at the same time !

      Carrot and stick !

    • sm
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Agreed.

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    How can any sensible person believe that a party which has always been strongly in favour of EU enlargement, and which is still strongly in favour of allowing more countries including Turkey to join the EU, and which has deliberately designed its much-vaunted “referendum lock” law to exclude accession treaties in order to head off the possibility that we might interfere with that process by directly voting against it in a referendum, is at the same time opposed to mass immigration?

    Croatia is next in line, with the accession treaty likely to be signed later this year. Apparently the Croatians will be asked in a referendum whether they want their country to join the EU, but of course we won’t be asked whether we want Croatia in the EU so that every Croatian would automatically have the right to come and live in our country.

    Not to worry – there are only about 4.5 million Croatians, so we know that’s the upper limit of the fresh immigration we would get, apart from the nationals of non-EU countries using Croatia as a new route to other EU countries. At present the same upper limit for Turkey would be about 80 million, rising by about a million every year.

  27. Derek Buxton
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Your last paragraph of course, says it all, he has no power to do any such thing and it is wrong that he should seek to give the impression that he can. This is a major fault line in the whole sorry tale, the pretence that our Parliament matters, it doesn’t! The EU is our government, in collusion with governments of all parties acting in defiance of our Bill of Rights which clearly forbids such action.

    • norman
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      At the risk of sounding like a xenophobic fruitcake banging on about Europe I’m always reminded of the Reagan quote when he said that we’re only one generation away from losing freedom if we don’t fight for it.

      I wonder if one day I’ll be telling my grandchildren how it was to be free when I was growing up?

  28. BobE
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Ive found some nice things about working with immigrants. One is the increased range of names that we now have in our country. Also in my experience the children of the first generation become very English. They add an extra dimension to us all. Some of the ladies are very beautiful indeed.
    All of the 3 shops in my village are run by immigrant families. The Spar often has their daughter serving, she is 24 and has just completed a degree. She is of Indian colour but is English to her core. I know that we must try to keep our population to a sensible level but the great majority of immigrants, especially 2nd gen, contribute to every good thing that is England.

    • Andrew Johnson
      Posted April 14, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Sorry BobE This is such a rose tinted view of how things really are for people who live in (some -ed) parts of our large towns and cities. Come and live in Tower Hamlets, but make sure you brush up on your Bangla, because that’s what you will hear spoken nearly everywhere. You might find your children or grandchildren are part of the (words left out)minority of non Bangladeshi children in their local school.

  29. Ralph McHendry
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I would suggest that we renegotiate out of the common borders policy and withdraw from the agreement if necessary. It’s a matter of political will.

  30. Bob
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    “…Labour gave away the UK’s opt out from the common borders policy within the EU…” Oh well, there’s nothing we can do then, we’ll just have to sit back and take it.

    But, wait a minute, who’s this bloke Nigel Farage – he seems to think we can be a proud and independent nation again. Is it really possible?

    Well, it’s gotta be worth a try!

  31. D. Singh
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Your Grace

    Mr Cameron said in his speech:

    ‘Take this question of Europe. Yes, our borders are open to people from other member states in the European Union. But actually, this counts for a small proportion of overall net migration to the UK. In the year up to June 2010, net migration to our country from EU nationals was just 27,000.’

    He has not lost the plot.

    He never possessed it in the first place.

    Britain’s borders stretch from Dublin in the west; to Bucharest in the east; from Helsinkin in the north – to Lampedusa in the south.

    There is nothing Berlusconi and Cameron can do about immigration: it is not a British nor Italian competence. That is why Berlusconi is contemplating issuing visas to refugees. These visas are not required by EU nationals.

    As in the Roman Empire all roads led to Rome. So in the EU all roads lead to Brussels – and then Croydon, London.

    His analysis is correct. There is severe and increasing damage to the infrastructure. No one is suggesting (it is irrational to do so) that the damage can be repaired.

    And what is his solution? Not to give us a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty but a referendum on AV.

    Let ther be no mistake and mark this well: if AV comes in so will perpetual coalition government. And that will lock us into the EU.

    • APL
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      D.Singh: “if AV comes in so will perpetual coalition government. And that will lock us into the EU.”

      I am afraid, the Tories have already done that!

  32. Kenneth
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I think the need for immigration comes from larger businesses and universities and both of these can muster a considerable lobby.

    Counter arguments are hard to come by with groups like migration watch having limited media coverage and, frankly, much less lobbying power.

    Filling in gap in an organisation may well satisfy a requirement for a few years. However it may leave a legacy of generations of people who have a different culture to those around them, depending on the level of integration/acceptance. Any fall-out from the tensions that arise from this will not be picked up by the organisation that brought them to the UK in the first place.

    Perhaps these organisations should be expected to take a ‘lifetime’ responsibility for the people they introduce to the UK. This could practically be done by having them pay a bond to the government which is redeemable when the immigrant returns home or when the tax yield from the immigrant has reached a certain level.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Kenneth

      Universities like foreign students because they usually pay 2-3 times the fees that home grown students do.

      A family friend activly recruits students for a well known university from all over the world. Typical fees £20,000 per year.

      The suggestion is that these larger fees subsidise UK students fees, or at least did!

  33. Duyfken
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I wonder whether Cable will have (been) resigned by the time this post surfaces after moderation. I hope so, of course.

  34. Dave
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Since it seems that France and Germany are bending the rules with respect to the Tunisians perhaps we should bend some of the rules too. Perhaps we should relax our “Queensbury Rules” attitude and adopt a Gallic shrug.

    One thing I don’t understand about that is why, for North African refugees, the only route seems to be Europe. What is wrong with the large landmass to the South?

    • Andrew Johnson
      Posted April 14, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      As we say round here, Behave yourself. Would you migrate there?

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      They don’t speak English as a first language

  35. Morningstar
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I seem to remember that the EU has negotiated a special treaty with India and also with North African states a right of entry into the EU. Thus any implementation of caps by our government from outside of the EU’s borders will be totally worthless as they will be negated by these and ‘up and coming’ immigration agreements across the world !

    There is no way that the EU is going to allow any EU member state any influence on its own immigration policy ! The only way is OUT !

  36. Tapestry
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I can’t get my girlfriend a visa to even visit the UK on a temporary visit. That’s now over the two years since we first met. I am now living abroad half of the time. The effect of that is the British Revenue is losing tens of thousands of tax a year, and I am not able to run my business in the UK where I employ a hundred people.

    The company pays nil Corporation tax these days and a hundred people might one day end up losing their jobs if it turns out that management of the situation becomes impossible.

    It hardly seems in the national interest to effectively exile people who develop relationships with people who happen to live outside the EU. I would guess there must be at least 1 million others like myself.

    The excuse they give is that my girlfriend could not afford to pay her way for a short visit, despite her having an international HSBC VISA credit card with a credit limit of thousands of pounds, a bank deposit of thousands and other significant assets.

    The Borders Agency state that they don’t believe the funds in her account are effectively hers! This is of course unlawful, but there is no right of appeal based on law, only on racist grounds! I never imagined I would be exiled from my own country by a supranational organisation that makes all the rules, and which operates above and beyond the law, and common sense.

  37. forthurst
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Englishmen are fighting and dying abroad whilst all our enemies are within. The situation we have now is a consequence of politicians acting treacherously towards us since before WWII when an importunate inebriate with an aptitude for demagoguery was recruited and rewarded by ‘anti-fascists’ for furthering the cause of achieving a victory for Bolshevism over Germany by grooming the British into an unnecessary war. Since then, the Conservative party has been tied into ‘antifascism’ as the left has embraced it with messianic fervour. The problem with ‘antifascism’ is that it too easily becomes a fatal auto-immune disorder: it glorifies multiculturalism, it adopts Cultural Marxism, it glorifies immigration as a good that enriches and diversifies (and attacks any other mode of thought as racist-ed). It requires that the potential fascists, us, are bound in with laws that inhibit us from rationally discussing the future of this country. It blames us for the bad behaviour and underachievement of (some -ed)immigrant(s) whilst hiding it at the same time. Of course, all along, the ‘antifascists’ have been building their European superstate with laws that will progressively destroy national cultures and peoples and they have an organisation, ‘Common Purpose’ to achieve it.

    Our politicians are bound with invisible bonds that prevent them doing what is right: they are either traitors or cowards who have not understood that shouting ‘racist’ at someone is simply a trick to terminate a discussion.

    We do not need ‘specialists’ from abroad, we need a proper education and examination system here. As to the importation of ‘cheaper’ specialists by companies, how are companies accomodated within our parliamentary system? Do they get block votes like Unions?
    Frankly my experience of cheap people in IT, is that they find adding value for their organisations difficult. (sentence left out-ed)

  38. Simon
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    This is the same Govt which thinks there will be so many jobs that people will be able to work until they are 70 !

    Any of you posters have children who are still at school ?

    What are you going to tell them if they can’t find work because LibLabCon and the big business lobby prefer to bring in cheap labour from abroad ?

    Young and not so young adults are taking their own lives because they can’t cope with being consigned to a lifetime of misery without a proper job or prospects of raising a family .

  39. JimF
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    This is more of a stick problem than a carrot problem. Reducing benefits vis a vis wages would both increase the propensity of our indigenous population to work and reduce that of immigrants to arrive without work.
    Sometimes you have to look beyond and beside an issue to solve it.

  40. James Matthews
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    It’s not us guv, it’s all them laws and treaties that previous governments signed up to doncha know.

    Which translates as “we do not have the political will to do anything about this, so we will plead helplessness.”

    Which works just fine, except that the electorate have started to believe it and now regard Parliament and MPs as helpless (and therefore useless).

    No surprise then that voting turnout continues to decline.

  41. Robin
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    John, your contributors have put the case on behalf of the British population far better than a simple person I possibly can. However, may I respectfully add,

    A) Why is it the vogue to refer to “net” immigration?
    B) Cameron merely inherited the damage wrought by Heath, Major, Blair and Brown. A pity he has neither courage, ability nor desire to effect the proper remedy on behalf of the people he is supposed to represent.
    C)Having lived through the Cold War, it was a joy to see the Iron Curtain dismantled, but a great sadness upon seeing it relocated to the periphery of the EU!
    D) Has not the EU has achieved the subjugation of the British people where Hitler and Stalin failed?

    And finally. Why are you not ourPM?

  42. Electro-Kevin
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    A phoney immigration limit put forward by the master of phoney expenditure cuts.

    Mr Cameron’s all over the place with his policies and his facts. He’s gone completely whacky after barely a year in office.

    How long is Britain going to have to put up with this before we can have a sane PM ?

  43. BobE
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Cameron and co have to keep in with the EU as it will be their only source of work after the next election. Watch how many will drop into cream jobs.
    Did you realise that an MEP can become a millionair after only five years.
    Great work if you can get it.

  44. Alte Fritz
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    The range of contributions to this post point to the difficulty in understanding immigration. So much is subjective.

    It seems to me grossly unfair that eastern European immigrants have been so attacked in the media when those I encounter seem precislely the immigrants we need. One can look at other immigrant groups who seem to take all and give nothing. Then there is the indigenous population which contains a growing dependency class which is a national disgrace and tragedy.

    We have, as a nation, no idea of what we are or want to be. Multiculturism has contributed to this by discouragng the notion that immigrants should work hard to become British and assimilate. As in so many things, I feel that, for want of political leadership, this is a problem beyond redemption.

  45. Mark
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    One way of cutting net immigration is to encourage emigration. There seem to be plenty of policies with this aim, such as high taxes on our most productive people, extra taxes on our brightest students, a poor school education system for their children, and a deteriorating one in universities, bubble priced housing, some of the most expensive energy in the world…

    I’m sure with that lot the target is achievable. Eventually even those contemplating coming here will hear sufficient horror stories to put them off.

    Leaving the satire aside, it is plain that much more will need to be done to reduce student numbers, which are now ten times higher than they were in the 1980s, and migration from the New Commonwealth and “Other” countries. The official statistics are known to be riddled with holes in more recent years, but even taking those as a base we have a long way to go to get back to net immigration as it was before Labour took over. It’s worth remembering that most of the net immigration during the Major government was accounted for by the special arrangements for citizens of Hong Kong, some 55,000 being granted admission prior to the end of the lease from China. Over 1979-1990, total official net immigration was 27,000 – just over 2,000 per year. We even had several years of net emigration. We could do with some more of those – but for different reasons that appear to be the likely drivers currently.

  46. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Good immigration is controlled immigration which implies that we, the indiginous people of the United Kingdom, make the decisions. Two measures are needed:
    (1) No more amnesties in any circumstances; and
    (2) An end to the automatic entry of dependents; so no more arranged marriages and no more children.

    When everyone accepts these measures, then and only then can financially assisted repatriation be discussed rationally.

    This is an issue on which we may get support from other EU Member States. Not all of them like having lost control.

  47. cosmic
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    This is nothing but hot air from Cameron. He’ll do nothing because tackling the issue would be hard work but talking as if he means to tackle it might sucker a few people.

    I don’t believe this is anything but gesturing because anything else would involve radical change; confronting the EU, confronting the ECHR, major changes in the UK.

  48. Yudansha
    Posted April 15, 2011 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Have open borders. Fine.

    But tackle welfare.

    That’s the obvious reason why so many cross safe countries to get here.

  49. backofanenvelope
    Posted April 15, 2011 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I realise that we are bound by various treaties. But is there any legal reason why we should give British passports to foreign nationals? Or grant permanent or indefinite leave to reside?

  50. Bazman
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Any young person with sense should be looking to leave this country especially if they have a trade. In fact there is little point in having a trade as there is little difference in trade wages than van driving or shop work. The wages for the metal working trades are now the same or less than in the early 1990’s. As a rule of thumb housing costs have doubled and the price of everything else has doubled. How have employers got away with this? This idea of the employer making profits and somehow giving pay rises which is the middle class fantasy is laughable, threats are the only thing they understand, the boom was at best only for employers. Employers pay the minimum they can get away with mainly due to the East Europeans coming here and working for whatever they can get, aided and abetted by employment agencies helping to drive down wages by undercutting each other. In one case an employer using an accommodation barge for EU workers to live on so they did not have to pay a UK living wage to them.
    The wages would be a pittance without the minimum wage. There would be just no point in working, so everyone who was against and is still against this piece of legislation including many MP’s. What do you have to say for yourselves? The little Englanders that are so against immigration are at the same time still happy to see wages driven lower by these policies. Their antidote to unemployment being a cut in the benefits system effectively making desperate people more desperate and expecting them just to sit back and take it. Have nothing and be happy with it. Except when this rule applies to themselves.

  51. MHJW
    Posted April 26, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    I am a freelance IT worker. I was never out of a contract for 20 years until 2010.
    For the last 16 months, I have applied for many contracts with no success. On two occasions, the client told me I had been undercut by an Indian. I suspect that was the situation in many of the other occasions too.
    Indian ICT workers are sold by their companies at £150 per day to work in central London. Natives living in the provinces like myself cannot compete.

    • dave
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      I have seen entire departments of IT workers staffed by (temporary foreign workers-ed). These tend to be brought into the UK on Intra-Company Transfers (ICTs) and are *not* counted in the official immigration figures.

      It is a disgrace that foreign workers are being brought into the UK without proper visas, to displace British workers, at a time of recent recession, low growth and high unemployment. These workers would not have a right to be here without the ICT mechanism.

      I don’t blame the (migrant workers), I blame the government.

      • Jiggly
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        I quite agree..

        The current role that I’m fulfilling, along with around 20 others, was recently put out to tender.. And not surprisingly ‘won’ by an IT compnay from outside of the EU..

        The (management) response was that although the soon to be appointed company started at the ‘bottom of their list of preferred suppliers’, they soon jumped to the top, purely on the basis of their cost.
        Asked when they were to take over, the (management) reply was ‘no doubt as soon as visas can be arranged’

        So, looks like I’m off down the JobCentre (again) next week, 6 months work over the past 20-odd months doesn’t really cover the cost of living for me.

        Like the others, I’ve no problem with the people coming in, it’s not their fault, but it would be REALLY nice to be allowed a level playing field.. I do feel completely let down by this Government, promising so much, and apparently delivering not a lot for the resident workers.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page