'One size fits all' wrong policy for UK migration

June 08, 2005

The ‘one size fits all’ nature of proposals for a common European economic migration policy would remove Britain's ability to manage its own affairs in its own interests.

This is one of the key messages to come from the evidence being presented by think-tank Migrationwatch today to the House of Lords Select Committee, ‘Inquiry into Economic Migration into the EU.’

The group says it is imperative that Britain retains its ‘opt out’ as this is an issue where competence should reside with national governments, not in Brussels.

‘The operation of the Euro is a graphic demonstration of why a one size fits all policy can cause serious problems,’ said Sir Andrew Green, Migrationwatch chairman. ‘It is exactly the same with economic migration as the 25 countries of Europe each have vastly differing needs.

‘To try and impose the same rules for them all would be the worst of options and would leave us unable to follow policies that are in the best interests of Britain.’

At a time when there was a major focus on the needs of Africa and its people the group called for the Government to establish an ‘ethical framework’ to protect third countries from, and compensate them for, the loss of skilled workers.

‘Much is quite rightly made of the valuable contribution made to the NHS for example by doctors and nurses from Africa, but when this means weakening even the most basic healthcare for the people of some African countries then something has gone seriously wrong,’ said Sir Andrew.

Sir Andrew will tell the Committee that the group challenge the government’s basic assumption that large scale immigration is beneficial to Britain. ‘The government keep changing their justification as each of their arguments is found to be faulty. This has now occurred six times and the government have still not made their case.[1] It is not surprising, therefore, that three quarters of the public think that there are too many immigrants coming to Britain,’ he said.

‘The Government must balance the short term needs of the economy against overcrowding and the strain on community relations. In the longer term, as the CBI have pointed out, only training for the UK work force can resolve skill shortages. Meanwhile, the reality is that Britain is already second only to Holland as the most crowded country in the EU; it does not need large scale immigration,’ he said.’Continued high levels of immigration would lead to serious social strains.’

[1] See Briefing Paper 1.1 on www.migrationwatchuk.org

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