Sir, Your editorial (Aug 28) makes the interesting suggestion of linking acceptance of a reasonable number of Syrian refugees with Britain’s right to set new rules on benefits and tax credits for EU workers.
At last year’s rate of net migration our total population would grow by three million — that is three times the population of Birmingham — every five years. The public cannot reasonably be asked to accept any significant number of refugees in addition to this. By contrast, the low birth rate in Germany means that its population would fall by 25 per cent by mid-century if it had no net migration. Furthermore, England (not the UK) is nearly twice as crowded as Germany and four times as crowded as France.
A link would only be worthwhile if we were to acquire the right to issue work permits to EU citizens in exchange for accepting a quota of refugees. Confining work permits to skilled EU migrants would substantially reduce the inflow and make room for some refugees. That would, of course, require treaty change but the EU has now totally lost control of its borders and needs help in coping with the consequences. We are all in new territory.