Have we got immigrant paranoia?

(277 Posts)
Jac1978 Mon 25-Mar-13 10:20:02

David Cameron is vowing to end benefits for EU migrants after six months. Around half a million migrants come into the UK every year, one in five from the EU but half return home every year. Only 6% of benefits claimants are foreign born - is Cameron wrongly targetting a minority and just responding to media paranoia about immigrants or is it a real problem and is he right to make things harder for them? Are we blind to the benefits of immigration? Are Brits who emigrate abroad any better?

Talkinpeace Mon 25-Mar-13 18:06:00

PS I'm non EU so I'm the lowest of the low ...
but I look and sound English so take great pleasure in pointing out that anti immigration pontificators ARE racist.

ttosca Mon 25-Mar-13 18:08:55

Maisie-

> Actually I think the racism element is a red herring. Our country is overflowing,

'Overflowing'? Really? Is it because of the 'flood' of immigrants?

The UK is #51 is the list of population density:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependent_territories_by_population_density

ttosca Mon 25-Mar-13 18:13:54

Callisto-

> Of course there will be friction and growing xenophobia and racism when you have a situation where everyone is skint, noone can afford to buy a house, jobs are impossible to come by, there is big problem with over-population and anyone from the EU can come here whether they bring anything economically or not. We are continually bailing out other countries and our own is in shit order. People are scared and angry. Something will give eventually, Cameron is trying to head that off.

Your problems are not due to immigrants or 'overpopulation'. Non-EU immigrants can't claim benefits for six months and EU immigrants are twice less likely to claim benefits than UK nationals.

Your population density is #51 in the world - a bit crowded, but not drastically so. There are many prosperous and successful nations with far higher density of people per area.

What's happening is that after 30 years of neo-liberalism, the shit is finally hitting the fan, and after the financial crisis caused by the casino gamblers, the population (everywhere in the EU, not just the UK) are expected to pay the price.

Blaming immigrants, the poor, the jobless, the benefits claimants - this is a red herring. It's a distraction. The government wants people to turn inwards and fight each other rather than hold the real culprits to account. Don't fall for it.

Orphadeus, I remember reading that study when it came out. There is one important caveat on the front page that the press at the time (save Channel 4's Fact Check) completely missed:

^In the absence of nationality markers on the benefit computer systems, the statistics presented in this adhoc analysis provide estimates of the number of DWP working age benefit claimants as at February 2011, within Great Britain, who at the time they registered for a NINo were non-UK nationals.

The statistics take no account of non-UK nationals who have subsequently been granted British citizenship. For the purposes of these statistics, they are shown as having been non- UK nationals at the time of NINo registration.^

http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/2012/nat_nino_regs.pdf

The stats in that report don't track visa status at the time of claims being filed, which would indicate whether people on temporary visas were illegally claiming benefits. It only tracks what nationality you had when you signed up for an NI card, which you are allowed to do on some temporary visas, such as a student visa (me in 2007) or spouse visa.

The thing is, in order for non-EU born residents to access benefits, you need to become either a permanent resident or a citizen. In order to become a permanent resident (which you are required to be, before one can become a citizen), you need to have been here for at least two years - and that was only if you married a British citizen under the old system. Everyone who hasn't married in has had to work and pay tax and NI for several more years than that.

Which begs the question, why isn't the government tracking visa status at the point of a claim being filed?

Non-EU immigrants can't claim benefits for six months

Which ones? I've been here since Sept 2006 and have never been allowed to claim benefits. Unless you are talking about the NHS? I can draw down SMP, but that's a contributory benefit - something I will get because I have worked for several years and paid into the system (think so, anyway).

ttosca Mon 25-Mar-13 18:19:22

The truth about migrants and benefits

Why let the facts get in the way of a good bit of immigrant-bashing? David Cameron certainly hasn’t. His speech today either highlights a woeful lack of knowledge of existing government policy or is deliberately misleading in order to whip up hysteria and community tensions. I’ll let you guess which.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research recently produced a report evidencing the net benefit European Economic Area migration has had to Treasury coffers. The Department for Work and Pensions’ own figures show that migrants make up 13 per cent of the UK’s workforce, but only seven per cent of out-of-work benefit claimants – less than the indigenous population. EEA migrants are 60 per cent less likely than British citizens to claim state benefits and are 58 per cent less likely to live in social housing. Yet all we hear from Cameron and co is that hordes of people are coming here from eastern Europe and elsewhere to scrounge off the state, get a free house and access free healthcare.

In his latest speech, Cameron promises reform in these three areas. But is it actually the case that we already have robust policies that make a lie of Cameron’s claims? Let’s look at each in turn:

Access to benefits

In his speech Cameron will say, ‘We’re going to give migrants from the European Economic Area a very clear message. Just like British citizens, there is no absolute right to unemployment benefit.’ Do EEA migrants currently enjoy some special right? No.

Inactive EEA nationals – ie those out of work and not seeking employment – cannot access income-related benefits in the UK. Contributory benefits can only be accessed if the necessary contributions and other conditions are met. Only EEA nationals with ‘worker status’ – in work or demonstrably seeking employment – can access in-work benefits such as housing benefit, council tax benefit and tax credits. Child benefit, child tax credit, state pension credit and employment support allowance for EEA nationals all depend on national insurance contributions and passing a ‘right to reside’ test, introduced by Labour in 2004.

As for the unemployed, EU law only grants access to unemployment benefits on the same basis as nationals of the country in question. So migrants coming here from EEA countries have the same rights and have to go through the same processes as a UK citizen wanting to apply for jobseeker’s allowance. EU citizens seeking work can claim JSA for up to six months and must undergo the same requirements as a UK jobseeker – signing a Jobcentre contract, attending interviews and so on. Unemployed EU citizens cannot claim income support, employment support allowance or the state pension credit.

Access to social housing

Cameron will promise to impose an expectation on councils to introduce a local residency test in determining who should qualify for social housing. Does the current system give some special right to immigrants? No.

Nobody automatically qualifies for social housing – not even born-and-bred Brits. Eligibility for social housing is determined by local authorities, and already includes criteria on having a link to the area – with many authorities giving additional points if this is met. Like everyone else, EEA migrants have to go through a thorough application process.

Access to healthcare

We’re told that ‘health tourism’ is a serious problem that is draining resources from the NHS and Cameron will pledge a crackdown. Can migrants come here from the EU and all over the world and access free healthcare? No.

Rules on who is eligible for free comprehensive NHS care are decided by the UK government, not the EU. In addition to UK citizens, others with access include overseas workers and students and citizens from countries with whom we have a reciprocal healthcare agreement. With the exception of emergency treatment by a GP or at A&E, overseas visitors are charged for all inpatient and outpatient hospital care. Immigration rules say that if someone owes more than £1,000 in NHS charges they will be refused a visa to enter the UK.

I welcome the newfound interest of politicians to start talking about immigration. But let’s make sure they have the facts straight if we’re to have an open and honest debate about the issue.

—————————————————————————————

Kevin Peel is a councillor on Manchester city council and tweets @kevpeel

www.progressonline.org.uk/2013/03/25/the-truth-about-migrants-and-benefits/

Talkinpeace Mon 25-Mar-13 18:22:03

The thing is, in order for non-EU born residents to access benefits, you need to become either a permanent resident or a citizen.

Not true.
I am a non EU national.
I was allocated my NI number on my 16th Birthday - just like an English kid.
I was allocated my NHS number when I first went to the dentist in this country.
I have claimed the dole and housing benefit.
I do not have a visa of any shape or kind.
I have a manky ILR stamp in my passport - undated, unrecorded on any computer by the UKBA.

pedrohedges Mon 25-Mar-13 18:28:14

I live in a smallish village with a vast amount of eu immigrants. 5 years ago i new everyone and the village had a real sense of community. Now i can't understand my new neighbours, nevermind knowing them.
The doctors surgery and school is bursting at the seams too.
I can say this on here but if i said it in RL i would be scared of being called a racist.
The country is changing and it scares me how fast it's happening.
Sorry if i offend anyone, its not my intention.

Callisto Mon 25-Mar-13 18:32:50

The problems are due to over-population. Your figures take the entire UK into account: Scotland has very low pop density because lots of it is uninhabitable, the South, where these problems are, is experiencing a serious population problem. You just have to look at house prices to see that. Our infrastructure is at breaking point, we will struggle to generate enough power for the current population in a few years time but hey, that's fine because theres plenty of room to squeeze more people in. hmm

Owllady Mon 25-Mar-13 18:34:25

more cynically I think he wants the ukip voters back
haven't read thread

Talkinpeace Mon 25-Mar-13 18:34:31

pedro
why are they there?
are you agricultural in Lincolnshire by any chance?
just that the new immigrants congregate where the jobs that English people do not want are concentrated.
Have you spoken to them and asked that what work they do in the UK and what work they did back home?
You might be surprised.

The cleaner at my gym turned out to have an MBA and when her English was good enough got a job in the City.

Callisto Mon 25-Mar-13 18:36:18

Ttosca - answering DC's views with the views of an opposing politician? And you expect us to take his/your word for it?

maisiejoe123 Mon 25-Mar-13 18:36:36

Callisto makes a good point. The SE if very full, GP's cannot cope, schools cannot fit pupils in, however Scotland for example is very different. However, what are we suggesting? Put all the overspill into Scotland??

Talkinpeace Mon 25-Mar-13 18:36:41

Callisto
There are 500,000 empty homes in the UK and 500,000 second homes.
There are also plots with planning permission ready to start building 400,000
If taxes were properly charged on vacant properties and land, those houses would be made available to those who need and the housing shortage would vanish.

ttosca Mon 25-Mar-13 18:39:16

Callisto-

> The problems are due to over-population.

No, they're really not.

> Your figures take the entire UK into account: Scotland has very low pop density because lots of it is uninhabitable, the South, where these problems are, is experiencing a serious population problem. You just have to look at house prices to see that.

It's true that it's more densely population in the south, so what? The solution isn't to kick out immigrants, the solution is to do things like improve the rail network and build commercial centres which are outside of London.

And once again, we don't have an 'overpopulation problem', we have a housing shortage.

> Our infrastructure is at breaking point, we will struggle to generate enough power for the current population in a few years time but hey, that's fine because theres plenty of room to squeeze more people in.

Our infrastructure needs more investment. Japan has a much, much higher population density than the UK but also has much better infrastructure. It isn't a 'breaking point'; it functions much more efficiently and cheaply than the UK.

Once again people are blaming immigrants and people for a lack of investment in housing and infrastructure.

pedrohedges Mon 25-Mar-13 18:41:19

@ Talkin. This will probably out me but it's for a huge factory that opened near my house around 5 years ago. They promised to take on locals, which they did temporary then gradually got rid of the English. Now it's mainly only Mainland europeans. This has caused outrage locally, lots of families have moved on looking for work. This factory only takes on mainland europeans, this is fact not fiction.
My own father was made redundant, then amazingly his job was re-advertised ( under different name obv) at a cheaper rate.
My village is destroyed.

alemci Mon 25-Mar-13 18:41:55

I think we really need to sort out who is already here. What about all the unemployed graduates and Neets. People are having to work longer to afford their pensions and not retiring as early. Jobs are harder to come by.

Housing is a big problem. Why do we need the worry of 2 more fairly poor countries being allowed to come here regardless of whether they need to claim benefits. what about all the extra cars on the roads, resources needed, school places, gas and electricity, water and sewerage, paying out child benefit which seems to be given out regardless of contributions to the exchequer. How is it benefiting the UK?

ttosca Mon 25-Mar-13 18:42:00

Callisto-

> Ttosca - answering DC's views with the views of an opposing politician?

Huh? An opposing politician? This isn't about party politics. I don't even know what political party the author of that article belongs to.

Those figures come from the DWP. You can check them yourself if you like. I've also seen them reproduced elsewhere. The image I posted came from the BBC, which basically says the same thing.

Callisto Mon 25-Mar-13 18:42:57

The empty homes are empty because noone wants to live there, because there are no jobs to be had in these areas. You can build all the rail links you like but people won't go and live somewhere there is no work. Japan is a shite example btw.

Talkinpeace Mon 25-Mar-13 18:43:00

pedro
OK, I know where you mean and I believe the UKBA are watching it like a hawk.
But in the mean time, talk to them. Many will be people like you, who would much rather not leave their villages depopulated and dying.

alemci Mon 25-Mar-13 18:43:15

Tosca isn't Japan very overcrowded with people crammed in small houses. Don't want the UK to become like that.

Talkinpeace Mon 25-Mar-13 18:43:25

callisto
Belgravia?

ttosca Mon 25-Mar-13 18:43:37

> Housing is a big problem. Why do we need the worry of 2 more fairly poor countries being allowed to come here regardless of whether they need to claim benefits. what about all the extra cars on the roads, resources needed, school places, gas and electricity, water and sewerage, paying out child benefit which seems to be given out regardless of contributions to the exchequer. How is it benefiting the UK?

Sigh

Once again, immigrants ARE LESS LIKELY than UK nationals to claim benefits.

Furthermore, immigration benefits the UK. It benefits the UK, not just economically, but socially and culturally as well.

London is a world-class city because it is full of people from all over the world, not despite of that fact.

thanksamillion Mon 25-Mar-13 18:45:09

I agree with previous posters who have said that it is attractive for Romanians to leave seeking work elsewhere due to poor living conditions/low wages etc, however, over here the general consensus seems to be that most people who wanted to leave to work have already done so.

Also the UK isn't top of most people's lists of where to go. Many many more Romanians are in Italy which is a much more popular destination.

Talk of the UK being flooded with new immigrants when the restrictions are lifted are IMHO very overstated and bordering on scaremongering.

pedrohedges Mon 25-Mar-13 18:45:14

@Talkin. My polish neighbour was a p.e teacher back home, she's works in burgerking over here. Crazy but she loves it and it feeds her family.

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