Starting this morning I am going to write a series of summaries of why we should leave the EU, taking a topic at a time.
The UK today can decide how many people to allow in to work and live from outside the EU, if they come directly.
The UK cannot control how many people come to live and work here from EU countries, and cannot control all those coming from outside the EU who come via another EU country.
Most people in the UK want controlled immigration.
Outside the EU the UK could have a fair system, placing identical limitations on people coming from the EU as from the rest of the world.
The UK seeks to limit non EU immigration. We favour students, people with skills our economy needs, people with money and ideas to invest, and people with sufficient money to pay their own way.
These limitations are designed to keep the extra costs of public service under control, and to allow in a manageable number of people.
In recent years the UK has experienced very high levels of inward migration. This has required providing many more homes, school places, NHS capacity, transport capacity and other public facilities. It has helped fuel high rises in property prices in the most popular areas of the country. It has provided a plentiful supply of labour, with an impact on wages and on people already settled here getting out of unemployment. For these reasons the current government was elected on a pledge to cut net migration to tens of thousands.
To keep its promise the government will need full control over policy. It will need to impose new restrictions on EU migration which are not legal under the current Treaties. Nothing in the renegotiation will make it legal to do what is necessary.
OUR OPPONENTS WILL CLAIM THAT THE REFORMS OFFERED SOLVE THE PROBLEM
Gaining more control over welfare benefits to limit these to new arrivals will not be sufficient to hit the government’s target on net migration. The main attraction of the UK to migrants from the rest of the EU is the availability of jobs. This will be enhanced by the introduction of the living wage, which is relatively attractive to migrants from the lower paid areas of the EU and from the areas of high unemployment.
Others on the Stay in side welcome unlimited migration. They see the plentiful supply of new labour as an advantage, rather than putting in the apprenticeships and starter jobs for UK citizens which we need.