Welcome to our third regular newsletter. Here are some of the issues that have kept us busy this week.
The open-ended offer to Hong Kong’s British National (Overseas) passport holders of a path to settlement went live on 31 January. The government’s optimistic (complacent?) central estimate is that about 300,000 people could come in the next five years, out of an eligible 5.4 million. 300,000 people, that is just a bit larger than the population of Hull..
Given the government’s abysmal track record on estimating future immigration flows – remember that research commissioned by the Home Office suggested that no more than 13,000 (tops) Eastern Europeans would come after EU enlargement in 2004 – the scheme is a massive hostage to fortune, with no constraint on the scale of annual inflows. You might like to cast an eye over our recent paper on this ill-thought out policy. The letter from our president, Lord Green, to the Daily Telegraph sums it all up nicely (here), as does a blog (here) accompanying our recent paper.
Just think of what this could mean for housing alone. We are already struggling to meet the needs of our population. And yet, here we are proposing to throw open the door even wider to millions of people with no control on numbers. What madness.
Make your voice heard
The pandemic has indeed reduced international travel. This is not likely to last. Immigration may soon well pick up where it left off. As we have been saying for months, the government’s weak ‘points-based’ immigration system – which was designed in and for a pre-Covid world – will quickly show itself to be the seriously wrong-headed policy that it always was. Unemployment has soared and will get worse. Opportunities for our workforce will shrink further. Now more than ever we have to prioritise our own jobseekers and young families. For more on the need to put UK workers first, see this piece.
We know that many of you will share our frustration that the oft-heard promise to ‘take back control’ is proving to be pretty hollow. May we again suggest getting in touch with your MP here, to make your concerns known?
Blog of the week
Our blog of the week is on the issue already mentioned, the ‘points-based system’. Our co-founder Lord Green, wrote in Conservative Home: “The new scheme was drafted almost entirely on the advice of economists and business leaders, amounting to a ‘bonanza’ for large employers at the expense of ordinary British workers. A cap on the amount of people allowed to come and work here has been completely removed, skills and salary requirements have been lowered and employers will be under no obligation to advertise at home before recruiting from abroad. All this renders ‘taking back control’ ultimately meaningless.” You can read the article here.
Migration Watch in the media
Here’s our Chairman Alp Mehmet’s take on thefollowing headlines from the week’s immigration news:
‘It is outrageous that human rights laws should be abused in this way. This horrific tragedy illustrates the ease with which criminals can hoodwink the system. It is time that our courts saw through this chicanery.’
‘Complaints from campaigners that the conditions in asylum centres are a threat to “human rights” just don’t stand up to scrutiny. Rioting, violence and damage to government buildings is inexcusable. As Priti Patel said, “it is an insult to say a site that previously accommodated brave soldiers and army personnel is not good enough for these individuals.” Exactly so.’
‘If only this were true and all our political parties had seen the light on immigration. Truth is, Labour, and the SNP, for that matter, are latching on to the Boris Johnson use of rhetoric as camouflage – that was what banging on about an ‘Australian points-based system’, was all about. It gave an impression of toughness and went down well with focus groups. This, I suspect, is what has happened with Labour MPs. “We need tough borders to deal with Covid-19.”
‘The police are to be congratulated on nabbing these thugs. The fact that they were illegal immigrants illustrates perfectly why we need strong, effective immigration controls to stand a chance of keeping out such abhorrent criminals.’