A lop sided migrant tax?

The proposed migrant tax on immigrants from non EU countries is a typical response of this government. It tackles a problem of the government’s making in the wrong way.

Why has it come forward now? Because the polling shows them that people are very worried by immigration on Labour’s watch. Many people think the government should have controlled our borders better, keeping out people who might be a threat to the state, and controlling the overall numbers. Labour has to face the European and Council elections, which gives voters a chance to express their dismay with the current situation. They are spinning a new initiative to give some cover to “British jobs for British workers” which they famously and misleadingly offered recently.

Why is it a tax? Because they need the extra money, and here is another group of people they think they can tax without existing voters getting angry about it. It is always another tax or another regulation with this government, usually with an extra quango thrown in.

Why don’t they control the numbers coming in more effectively, which is what many people have wanted them to do? Because then they would not be able to tax them on the way in, and would not be able to recruit them in to the ever expanding public service workforce. They have found this easier to do than to train and incentivise more people already living here to do these jobs.

Why doesn’t it apply to people coming in from the EU? Aren’t there queues of people trying to get here from Calais, and isn’t Calais in the EU? Because the government stupidly gave away control over our borders with the rest of the EU against Conservative advice and votes, and now cannot control these borders without getting the approval of our partners. Clearly Labour does not think they have enough influence with the rest of the EU to deliver the changes we need. The obvious thing to do is to take the power back to control our own borders in the way we wish, but don’t expect them to do that.

Why doesn’t belonging to the Commonwealth mean anything any more? Many people in the UK deeply resent the idea that people from Australia and New Zealand, from the West Indies and Canada, are treated less well than people from the EU. Why isn’t India treated better, as she becomes one of the new great powers of the world? We have special cultural, historical and kinship ties with many people in Commonwealth countries. And why didn’t Mr Brown tell Americans when he addressing both Houses of Congress that the special relationship did not extend as far as to exempt Americans from a new “you are not welcome” tax for migrants?


  1. Colin D.
    March 19, 2009

    I doubt if taxing immigrants will win a single extra vote. People are upset about the total number of immigrants, the nature of some of those being let in and the shambles that is our border control. A tax will address none of these.

    It is true that the government may find immigrants easier to train and incentivise than the indigenous population. One solution is to ensure that no one is ever financially penalised for working. Someone just doing even a small part time job should ALWAYS be better off than the same person living at home on benefits. That is often not the case, so who is going to inconvenience themselves by going to work when the state doles out more just for staying at home? The Conservatives need to ensure you are ALWAYS better off for doing the ‘right thing’ – a properly incentivised benefit system coupled with a big increase in the tax free allowance would be a good start.

  2. The Economic Voice
    March 19, 2009

    Labour’s answer to everything. If it moves tax it, if it doesn’t move tax it anyway in case it does move.

  3. A. Sedgwick
    March 19, 2009

    One of the most deceitful elements of New Labour’s reign concerns immigration. Quite simply we are full and cannot afford, do not need and do not want , for example, the hordes of young men awaiting entry at Calais. The French attitude has been a good reason alone for leaving the EU. I believe a freeze on all immigration for two years and the immediate repratiation of all, literally all, failed and bogus ayslum seekers and illegals to their country of origin or their previous transit country, which will probably be France.

    1. Verity
      March 21, 2009

      First, A Sedgwick, all “asylum seekers” are bogus because the international rules are that people seeking asylum should go to the first safe country they come to. Britain is the furthest. As by far the vast majority of “asylum seekers” are Islamic, they should have gone to the closest safe Islamic country, which is obliged by religious law, to take them in. Oppression problem solved, and cheaply!

      Yet these “asylum seekers”, fearing for their lives, paid for plane tickets. This is strange, given that airline ticketing is done by computer and oppressive governments have access to those records to monitor who is entering and leaving the country. Yet these “asylum seekers” were not stopped from boarding their flight. So, two things: They weren’t being “oppressed” for their political views, if any; and they had enough money for all their plane fares, or they had enough money to pay a people smuggler to get them to Britain.

      And they travelled through, or over, many Islamic countries. As all Islamic countries are considered one – Dar es-Salaam (the House of Islam) – they would have had automatic asylum and citizenship in any of them.

      So, although there may be the odd exception here and there, by and large, there are no genuine “asylum seekers” in Britain. It would be safe to shovel the whole lot of them out.

      And, obviously, the illegals have to be repatriated to the nearest Islamic country, too. By being illegal, they are criminals and why would we want to import criminals? We don’t have enough of our own?

      I agree with you about France.

  4. Ola
    March 19, 2009

    Being a member of the commonwealth has never meant anything as far as I can remember. I have always been subject to astronomical visa fees(which are going up in April by the way). It costs nearly a £1000 for a Tier 1 visa that probaly costs only £100 worth of effort, and now this? It is a slap in the face to all of us. International students and higly skilled migrants are now cash cows for EU migrants, even though we claim no benefits? What pressures are we putting on local services that we haven’t paid good money for? It is a sad state of affairs. The UK is finished under this current government.

  5. Nick D
    March 19, 2009

    I did not realise from hearing the reporting on the BBC that this did not apply to immigrants coming via other EU countries. Very interesting.

  6. Tony Makara
    March 19, 2009

    Under Labour’s watch we have allowed 2.5 million immigrants to enter our country. That is equal to half the population of Scotland. We cannot support this huge influx and it puts our welfare and social services under severe strain.

    Many on the left have kicked and screamed that those opposed to such high levels of immigration are racist. Yet much of the immigration over the last decade has been white immigration from Eastern Europe.

    A Conservative government must be bold, not only in halting immigration but in actually repatriating any immigrant involved in crime or any immigrant that is not in a position to support him/herself and their offspring.

    reply: The party has said Yes to stricter controls at borders, No to criminals coming in, yes to sending criminals back home, and yes to an overall control on numbers. It does not favour compulsory repatriation of legally settled migrants already here.

  7. Number 6
    March 19, 2009

    The answer to all of your last post is because we are in the EU. Full stop, end of story. When we leave the EU we can again decide who and from where comes to our country.

  8. Mike Cunningham
    March 19, 2009

    Does the Troy Party propose re-establishing our own controls over our own borders? If so, will they not be in conflict with their own version of the beloved ‘European Project’?

    Why doesn’t the Tory leader come out with definite proposals to end all ‘Commonwealth family member’ rights to immigration?

    Why do we never hear of any proposals from the Tory side of the House to rid our shores of the approximate one million illegal immigrants and BOGUS asylum seekers who clog the appeals tribunals?

  9. chris southern
    March 19, 2009

    So imposing a tax on non EU members is supposed to sort everything out? Those that work here legitamtely pay into the system any way, those that don’t work get benefits, and as such won’t be able to afford the tax.

    This proposal (as i doubt it will be enforced) is yet another kneejerk reaction by a panicking goverment more interested in political popularity than creating long term solutions that realy do benefit the people who live in the UK.

  10. SJB
    March 19, 2009

    How many (word left out) migrants per year? Do you propose to limit entry just to workers or would family members have residency rights as well?

    Around 30,000 caused a huge political row in 1972. Ronald Bell MP said then: “They have no connection with Britain either by blood or residence.”

    1. SJB
      March 20, 2009

      You asked: “Why isn’t India treated better?” so I queried how many Indian (the “word left out”) migrants would be admitted because 30,000 seemed too many to the right-wing of the Conservative Party in 1972. Perhaps that view has changed. If so, I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask what sort of figure you have in mind for that particular country and for the Commonwealth as a whole.

      Reply: We have no wish to have quotas against particular countries. The overall figure for migration will be set in the light of circumstances of the time. When Conservatives were in government there were better controls on our borders and lower overall figures.

      1. SJB
        March 22, 2009

        Thanks. Bearing in mind a significant number of professionals are already claiming benefit
        (see http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2009/03/19/20.03.09.Benefit.claimants.pdf) I shall be intrigued to see what the figure will be against a background of around 3 million unemployed.

  11. alan jutson
    March 19, 2009

    This project is typical of Labour thinking.

    Tax people £50.00 for entering the Country, to spend on what ???.

    We are informed on the TV news tonight, it will help pay for schools to help those that cannot speak English, and gave Peterborough as an example where one school had a problem with Pupils speaking 25 different languages.

    First. It will cost more than £50.00 in administration to collect the £50.00 in tax.

    Second, Those who are coming from some EU countries, speak another language, and they will not have to pay as it does not apply to them.

    Third. As I understand it those from Commonweth Countries who do speaK English will still have to pay.

    Fourth, why is it a School problem if people do not speak English.
    We live in Great Britain/England, if people want to be educated here at the Taxpayers expense, then they should learn English first, before they are allowed to go to school.

    What again an absolute bloody shambles, who dreams up these stupid policies.

    Try this in Australia, The present Prime Minister has made it very clear in a recent statement about immigrants arriving in his Country.
    In effect he said, you came here, your choice, you live by our rules and regulations, if you do not like it, go somewhere else.

    Think I am correct in also saying that in Australia if you have entered the Country without the correct documentation, you are returned as soon as possible to the place from where you came, and you are charged a daily rate for food and board in a secure establishment, until you are found a flight back. You are not allowed to roam the streets and dissapear without trace for years.

  12. Jason
    March 19, 2009

    This is the sort of thing I would expect to hear from an ultra-right wing party! Its utterly a problem made by the govt over the last decade. In fact I have heard population estimates that far exceed the official figures…the facts are that this country doesn’t know how many people are here who are not supposed to be….they didn’t seem to care in the first place. I must also take issue with the premise that migrants are more easy to incentivise and train than locals. I mean if its the case that providing social security, housing aid and unemployment benefit disincentivise local to work – I think that they should be cut back on. It seems the underclass in the UK is growing in line with benefits afforded to them. I dont think this correlation can be denied. Work gives people dignity – benefit culture denies them that dignity and leads to long term dependency – which is neither economically viable nor desirable. Not to mention the social costs of this long term dependency on education, mental health. What we currently have isnt working and hasnt been working for some time. People ushered in New Labour because after 20 yrs of growth under conservative policies – people started to feel their wealth should be shared more equally. That labour is still pursuing a policy of sharing the proceeds of our broken economy for results which are demonstrably adverse to the nations health – financial, physical or mental – is a point that needs to be remembered. Though unlikely to be a vote winner – a policy to reverse this most wasteful (financially and in human terms) policy should be undertaken when the conservatives come to power. Only conservative policies can return dignity to our nation and population… indigenous or migrant.

    1. Julian
      March 25, 2009

      “It seems the underclass in the UK is growing in line with benefits afforded to them.” This is a comment that applied 25-30 years ago. The only conclusion I can draw is that governments of all persuasion are happy to have a dependent 20% and 80% doing ok. And then it is just a question of managing the crime and tax to keep the show on the road.

  13. B.O.F.
    March 19, 2009

    Apparently they are going to charge an ‘admission fee’ of £50 per student/worker. Just what would be the cost to collect and process each fee? When you add the cost of the inevitable quangocracy with the handsome salaries, and gold plated pensions to match, I suspect this is going to be ‘a nice little negative earner’ for the taxpayer. It’s going to piss-off a lot of people who will go somewhere more welcoming. Zimbabwe even.
    This crew couldn’t run a sweetshop.

    1. Verity
      March 21, 2009

      B.O.F. You naively write that this lot couldn’t run a sweet shop. You are wrong. They have quietly, and malignantly engineered vast, sweeping, destructive changes to our country and our democracy, much of it under the radar. (words left out) This government is composed of Student Union Trots and Gramscis who have never done a day’s work (save Alan Johnson) in their lives. They have been engaged for the past 12 years in the long march through the institutions, many of which they have destroyed.

      Para left out

      As far as I know, this is the first time in history that the Fifth Column was actually the government.

  14. Robert Klein
    March 19, 2009

    Well, for those of us who are Commonwealth citizens who are in the process of settling in the UK, this will just breed hatred of the Labour Party, as it did when they extended the four-year settlement requirement to five years.

    Let’s hope the Conservatives don’t play this silly anti-immigrant game when they come to fighting the next election. If there is any hint of it, I will happily vote UKIP.

    So, a question, John – will the Conservatives commit to removing this tax if they come to power?

    Reply: Not decided

  15. David b
    March 20, 2009

    I am embarrassed to post again on this site with views not in line with the majority of opinion thereon, but I assure you all that I detest the Zanu project, the incompetence of the State, and big government. Its just that sometimes I think that not all their stupid ideas are entirely without merit.

    Anyway, I’ve thought something along the arrival charge line for a few years. Specifically, I know of two cases. A customer was seriously injured in Iceland. He was hospitalised and while the Icelandics made him comfortable, they did not treat him until his wife produced an E111 form. After that – excellent treatment. The other case is a bus crash. A supplier told me his daughter was in a hospital treating patients who had been injured in a bus crash. Mostly Malaysian tourists. Noone questioned their insurance status, they were not from a country with which we had reciprocal health care arrangements ( unlike Iceland). They were treated as if they were our own.

    I have thus long thought that persons arriving from outside the Union ( we have reciprocal arrangements with all the EFTA countries) – and they have to fill in a white card on arrival by boat or plane – should have to have and to prove valid health care insurance on arrival. A £50 tax is a start.

    Do we know how much health tourism costs us anyway?

  16. adam
    March 20, 2009

    I don’t know what this tax is about, didn’t anticipate it except for noting a mixed/confused attitude within the EU toward non EU citizens.
    Of course the main problem is illegal immigration, not immigration. You cannot tax people who do not officially exist. People who complain about immigration are usually complaining about illegal immigration and the insulting government claims that they are tough on it, when obviously they are not. Nobody wants approved migrants to be further penalised, only loony Liebore.

  17. newmania
    March 20, 2009

    I did this one
    Why does Hazel Blears want to slap a £50 fee on people from outside the EU moving to the UK ? She ‘says’ the £70mio over two years will help fund more police support and translators ; this will be “Fair” apparently .She ‘hopes’ it will create the impression that New Labour are listening on immigration . Actually its an ‘unfair’ tax on folk who do not create costs and the amount is peanuts set against the money bonfire lit by those who do
    For a start its really £100 pa because visas have to be renewed every six months . That way the 305,000 non-EU inward migrants arrived in 2007 cough up £30,500,000 pa. Many of these , however will not need special services .The random subjects of highway robbery include Ex-pats – 75,000 . ‘Old’ Commonwealth – 45,000‘New’ Commonwealth – 130,000 ( many first language English speakers ) and Others – 130,000. Of these ,“others “,up to 18% are from the US – Overall about half the People paying are just muggees
    The further bad news is that while the scheme will raise £60 million in a two year period the costs it is supposedly set against will be just over £1 Billion . Migration Watch have a full break down . It starts a with £578 m (2006/7) being funding for English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) training (in two years ), and goes from there .
    Next Time Hazel I like mine Honey roasted for extra flavour…….
    *(ONS 2007 , the most recent figures )

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