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The most noteworthy immigration news this week was the Home Secretary’s announcement on Wednesday to require all UK nationals and residents returning from 22 countries where there is a risk of known Covid variants (and who cannot be refused entry) to isolate in government-provided accommodation – such as hotels – for ten days after arrival from abroad without exception. 

If this is such a necessary step, why was it not taken sooner?  

Other reports referred to the wider impact of the lockdown, with climbing unemployment (now 5%) and continuing pressure on housing and green spaces. Not forgetting ongoing illegal Channel arrivals, which reports suggested have already amounted to more than double this month (over 200) than the total for all of January 2021 (just over 90) – for more on this topic, see our Channel Tracking Station.

This is what we have been up to this week at Migration Watch UK .

Make your voice heard

The government’s post-Brexit work-visa system – the much vaunted ‘points-based’ system – which was designed before the pandemic struck (largely to meet employers’ demands) – is now up and running. We will be keeping a close eye on it. Sadly the system is a long way from ‘taking back control’. Notwithstanding the election rhetoric, as we have said before but worth repeating, this new system will make it easier for non-EU workers to compete for British jobs (by severely weakening work visa rules for citizens in four-fifths of the world’s countries). For more read our July 2020 paper.

Meanwhile, the long-standing cap on the number of work permits that can be issued has been removed. With redundancies at a five-year high and unemployment at 5% due to the fall-out from lockdown policies, Britain must prioritise UK workers and graduates. If you also believe this new system fails to deliver on the government’s election pledge to deliver ‘firmer’ control of immigration, may we suggest that you write to your MP to voice your concerns. You can do so here.  You can also see more on our campaign to put UK workers first here.

Blog of the week

Our Chairman Alp Mehmet wrote in The Conservative Woman on Channel crossings and what needs to be done. He proposes five action steps for the government to take if they are serious about dealing with the growing problem. You can read the full article here.

Migration Watch in the media

Alp was also quoted in the media earlier this month…

Mail Online: Palestinian refugee who spent much of 2020 on hunger strike in bizarre row with Home Office over his age is ruled to be 31 years old by Court of Appeal judge… despite insisting he’s only 26 (15 January 2021)

‘This is another example of entirely the wrong message going out to migrants and traffickers…. Our immigration system really has gone to pot.’

Here are some responses by Migration Watch UK to recent press reports:

The Times: Graduate job slump is worst since 2008 recession

Migration Watch UK said: ‘This is a wake-up call for the government and UK employers. Instead of relying on cheaper labour from foreign workers, now more than ever Britain needs to prioritise its own workforce and ensure jobseekers and graduates are not left out in the cold in a post-pandemic world. UK businesses must hire locally.’

The Times: Green belt at risk from ‘wrong ideas about cities’

Migration Watch UK said: ‘Our precious green spaces and countryside are under threat, and a massive part of that threat stems from mass, uncontrolled immigration. We are watching our country change at an unprecedented speed. This is chipping away at what makes our country so special.’

The Telegraph: Up to two million Hong Kongers could move to UK under new visa

Migration Watch UK said: ‘This scheme involves the right to unlimited immigration for more than five million people from Hong Kong. It can only lead to more pressure on housing, the NHS and schools. It is a very far cry from “taking back control”.’

Mail Online: Covid outbreak at asylum seeker camp in ex-Army barracks in Kent sees 120 people test positive

Migration Watch UK said: ‘It boggles the mind how we have continued to accept, and sometimes ferry, illegal immigrants into our country from France in the middle of a pandemic. As the Home Secretary has said, they are coming from an advanced and wealthy country where they should seek refuge first. Perhaps the prospect of safe and free accommodation at the expense of the taxpayer is too good to turn down. Meanwhile, some blinkered campaigners blame it all on the UK. How absurd.’

29th March 2021

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