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Politics

Do you think the UK should halt immigration?

85 replies

LittenTree · 19/06/2012 08:55

What would you think of a policy that pretty much, forthwith, limited immigration in to the UK to an 'Australian model', say? (where, for instance, it's bloody hard to get a residents visa but once you have one, fairly easy to get citizenship. I know the model may have changed from the 'points system' they used to use where you got more points for being educated, English speaking, in a high demand trade or profession, being within a certain age band etc etc).

What would you think?

OK, I recognise that various treaties etc we've signed up to means we cannot prevent an EU influx but let's say that was also under discussion.

Before anyone skim-reads this and shouts' racist', no I'm not. I am not suggesting we bar anyone as a result of their race. Being able to speak the language of your adopted country isn't a function of race, for instance.

But I am wondering how different Britain might look and function if we really did slow the rate of immigration right down and then only to those people we need and who would be net contributors to our society (yes, unlike many of our own people, but that's a different story!).

Could we ultimately see gains in the environment as our population gradually fell to something more sustainable? Would we see more social cohesion as previous groups of immigrants had far more time to assimilate before the next group arrive to 'threaten' their feeling of stability (it is to be noted that many of the strongest supporters of limiting immigration are the most recently arrived immigrants themselves as of course they often find themselves on the lower rungs and naturally aren't pleased to find themselves being squeezed by the resources being stretched to accommodate the next group. We've all done geography where we see how, for most ethnic groups, they arrive in a new country, all live close together in a specific area, then, over a few years, begin to move on up and out to have their 'place' repopulated with a new, distinct immigrant group).

I was going to add another bunch of caveats about how what I'm saying doesn't mean this or that; then I thought, my musing can stand alone. Do you think the UK should halt the current immigration model it uses and rethink to one that is very selective and prescriptive? Pros and cons?

Note this is in 'politics' as immigration is a political issue.

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niceguy2 · 19/06/2012 09:09

The way you've framed your post sounds like you are trying to only illicit responses which say "yes it's a good idea to limit immigration".

But the real world is much more complex than that. We are in the EU and as such we don't get a choice to limit immigration from EU nationals. Given this is by far the largest group of "immigrants", limiting other groups has a very limited impact.

My family were immigrants, I was not born in the UK but I grew up here. My fiancee is an immigrant albeit from an EU country. So I see immigration as a plus. Let's face it, without immigration who is going to pick fruit in farmer fields, clean toilets, all the jobs which many of our current generation of natives feel is beneath them.

That said I do support the current points system where we target those who most benefit our country. I don't see anything wrong with that at all. The simple fact is that we need immigration. As our population grows older and we stop having loads of kids, immigration is the only way we can ensure we have enough workers to support those who can't.

As for making it very hard to get a residents visa, I don't see why it should be made artificially hard. If someone has proven themselves to be a law abiding person who works hard and isn't a drain on our society then I don't see any reason why we shouldn't welcome them.

Despite what the tabloid press report, immigrants come to this country to work, not to sponge. And are demonstrably less likely to claim benefits.

MrsMicawber · 19/06/2012 09:12

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

longfingernails · 19/06/2012 09:22

We should be extremely liberal with immigration when it comes to skilled workers and high earners.

When it comes to unskilled workers, especially those who don't speak English, the door to Britain should be firmly shut in their face.

When it comes to bogus asylum seekers, foreign criminals, and benefit migrants, we should deport them immediately.

redrubyshoes · 19/06/2012 09:30

I and my DP work in engineering and in our offices we have Kiwis, Aussies, South Africans, Canadians, Americans, Indians, Pakistanis, French, Spanish and Italians. All of whom are in the 40% tax bracket.

They more than pay their way.

CogitoErgoSometimes · 19/06/2012 09:44

I don't agree. I think the reason the UK punches above its weight in a lot of fields is precisely because we have had a very long history of incorporating newcomers successfully and productively, each bringing a new dynamic to our culture. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect immigrants to support themselves but, IME, the kind of person that has the motivation to move to another country is not the sort that intends to do nothing when they get there. What's more, their work ethic is often passed on to the next generation. Yes, there are implications for resources and local communities and we should be able to respond quickly and fairly, but I think a mobile, diverse population is a modern fact of life.

If we did pull up the drawbridge I think we'd be in trouble. A falling birth-rate and an ageing population means we're already heading for problems. If the overall head-count came down as well as this imbalance I think it would throw up all kinds of unintentional consequences.

TheSoggyBunny · 19/06/2012 09:46

Cognito said what I came on to say

mumnosbest · 19/06/2012 09:48

What about luuuurve?
What if you fall for a gorgeous but unskilled foreigner? Is your love doomed?

niceguy2 · 19/06/2012 09:50

You always have the choice to go live in his native country.

mumnosbest · 19/06/2012 09:58

Luckily in my case its a choice. I wouldnt want to live there (though hols are great). Also all my family, friends and career are here.
What if they too tool this approach to immigration?

CogitoErgoSometimes · 19/06/2012 09:58

"When it comes to unskilled workers, especially those who don't speak English, the door to Britain should be firmly shut in their face."

This is patronising crap. I get fed up with this distinction 'unskilled' If work needs doing, it needs doing. I don't care if someone picks cabbages or manages an operating theatre, they're earning an honest living. If local people think cabbage-picking is above them or aren't qualified enough to manage an operating theatre, then the newcomer is valuable.

kitsonkittykat · 19/06/2012 10:06

Biscuit Just because you say "what I am saying is not racist" doesn't make it so.

LittenTree · 19/06/2012 10:28

Actually, many who appear to 'disagree' are actually not doing so! I have already mentioned 'a points system'- well, couldn't that incorporate points for trained overseas care assistants? On the basis that that person arrives and becomes 'a care assistant'? and, crucially, doesn't automatically gain the right to import their entire family (and on a different note, though I, unfortunately, cannot link, I recall recently an small outcry how some long-term care assistants who'd been working in the UK and sending money home for decades were being 'denied the right of citizenship' in the UK, having 'contributed for so long'- I'm not entirely seeing why a work visa should even be considered an 'automatic' passage to citizenship!)

FWIW I gained a residency visa in overseas based entirely on the premise that I would be employed by a given employer or in an identical job and that I had no recourse to public monies beyond emergency treatment (everyone had a HC card you had to flash to prove eligibility).

Why couldn't a 'new' immigration system encompass the occupations in which we have shortages BUT be based on the person working (and facing deportation if they stopped earning ie became 'a burden' instead of an asset). As for the engineers- a bit different, especially if their skills have had to be imported due to a local shortage (via Points!)- (Q: "I and my DP work in engineering and in our offices we have Kiwis, Aussies, South Africans, Canadians, Americans, Indians, Pakistanis, French, Spanish and Italians. All of whom are in the 40% tax bracket."). I imagine just as many British engineers are working in New Zealand, Australia, SA etc. And yes they pay their way and rarely settle for good. And do not tend to bring their extended families with them. An individual ceases to 'pay their way' once the people they 'import' with them cost the host state more that they are paying into that state and continue to do so (and yes, I may be thinking of the immigrant cabbage picker whose baby was birthed on the NHS and who now has 3 DC in the local school whilst living on HB and TA due to his 'low income'. He should be 'welcome' but not the people he brings with him, maybe? OR maybe he shouldn't 'be welcome', but the local unemployed should be expected to cabbage pick? And just because this musing might come across as being DM, it doesn't mean it's a debate we cannot be allowed to have does it? Just a thought).

I posted this because I feel our little island is becoming ridiculously crowded. Our natural resources are crumbling beneath the strain of so many people think water supplies, for a start!); our housing policies have no way of housing a good number of people already resident; our schools and hospitals are collapsing under the scale of need. Wouldn't everyone already her benefit from a severe reduction in immigration?!

And try driving anywhere on a summer's weekend.

There are more than enough people here already. We need to be selective about how those numbers increase.

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LittenTree · 19/06/2012 10:34

Q: Just because you say "what I am saying is not racist" doesn't make it so.

Please explain where I have been racist. I mean that. I want you to detail via a direct quote what remark I have made that implies a person's race should either qualify or disqualify them for immigration. I want you to quote where I have said that- no, not show where you think your ill-conceived notion of what racism means has been piqued, where maybe your leftist leaning antenna have twitched in a non-focused, imprecise way, 'PC' way; I want you to demonstrate precisely where I have been racist in what I've said.

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LittenTree · 19/06/2012 10:40

cogito: I agree with what you're saying re 'cabbage picking' and importing people who will cabbage pick (via a system that expected them to 'cabbage pick'!) BUT Q: 'If local people think cabbage-picking is above them or aren't qualified enough to manage an operating theatre, then the newcomer is valuable.'... the option for unemployed local people to think cabbage picking is beneath them shouldn't exist, and maybe wouldn't if receiving jobseekers was limited and therefore provided an incentive to cabbage pick! But I also make the point that the imported cabbage picker shouldn't necessarily, as a right, be allowed to import his entire family. Then the 'gain' to the farmer becomes a loss, both financially and socially in terms of overcrowding and resource crunching- to society.

This is also about absolutes: much of the UK is absolutely full and absolutely stretched financially and resource-wise.

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redrubyshoes · 19/06/2012 10:48

I would like to make it compulsory for visitors/immigrants to the UK to have valid health insurance to cover the length of their stay.

I wouldn't dream of travelling abroad without it and exepcting my host country to pick up the tab for any medical care I required but that is a very separate issue.

niceguy2 · 19/06/2012 10:55

I disagree that this island is becoming overcrowded. There's plenty of space. The problem is that too many people want to crowd into the SE of the country.

What the government need to be doing is encouraging companies to relocate further afield. This is starting to happen. For example BBC moving to the NW. And of course the high speed rail links which hopefully will encourage people to move further out (but I accept it may have the opposite effect).

As for water, we really REALLY shouldn't have an issue. We're a bloody island surrounded by it and it rains so flipping much. The real issue isn't population but the fact we're not managing it correctly. So whilst London is in drought, reservoirs in Scotland and the lakes were full. What we really need is a national grid for water, just like we have for electricity. Or invest in desalination plants which despite what the environmentalists would have you believe are actually pretty green.

So in short the problem isn't with numbers. In fact like I said earlier I think we need to increase them. The real issue is we're not managing ourselves the best way we can.

StillSquiffy · 19/06/2012 11:03

My issue is with the points you make:-

  1. "Let's say EU membership is up for discussion". Economically, it is my very strong view that withdrawal from the EU would have a detrimental effect on the GDP that far, far outstrips the benefit of then being able to limit immigration.
  2. "how different Britain might look and function if we really did slow the rate of immigration right down" It would indeed look different. Without increasing the working population at a rate greater than is provided by current birth rates the social welfare system would collapse. We need to expand continually to prevent the time bomb exploding (see Japanese economics for where we'll be if we don't)
  3. "only to those people ... who would be net contributors to our society" I am pretty sure that all available research clearly demonstrates that immigrants, in totality, are net contributers to the GDP.
  4. "only to the people we need". This is the case for non EU citizens, where very strict criteria are applied. As for EU citizens, see point 1.
  5. Why couldn't a 'new' immigration system encompass the occupations in which we have shortages BUT be based on the person working (and facing deportation if they stopped earning ie became 'a burden' instead of an asset). We do, for all non EU immigrants, unless they have qualified for residency. I've had the particularly difficult task of telling people that (a) they are being made redundant and (b) they'd best pack up their lives, take the kids out of school, and get on the next flight home.

    I'm not sure you made any points other than these? Oh, except 'the option for unemployed local people to think cabbage picking is beneath them shouldn't exist". Yep. I agree with that one, but it has nothing to do with immigration.
BellaOfTheBalls · 19/06/2012 11:03

Have you tried to be a non-EU immigrant and get into this country? It is more difficult than the Daily Fail people would have you believe. Laws have been tightened and AFAIK there is now a "points" system in place. Or that's what I was led to believe they were doing at least. Australia's immigration system is far from perfect; they do have issues with overstayers & illegal immigrants (particularly from Eastern & Southern Asia).

I know a great deal of immigrants from all corners of the globe. Like PP said most of them are 40% tax earners or work two or three jobs. One worked 7 days a week for 4 years without complaint.

So no, I wouldn't just stop immigration. I believe it encourages our country to be more diverse, people to work harder, be more accepting.

CogitoErgoSometimes · 19/06/2012 11:43

"the imported cabbage picker shouldn't necessarily, as a right, be allowed to import his entire family"

Why not? Perhaps this industrious person has an equally industrious family. Perhaps, by having their family close by, they spend their earnings locally rather than sending it overseas. Maybe their children keep the local school open that is in danger of closing due to a falling birth-rate. I think a lot of the immigration debate ends up, not as racism, but as snobbery.

As for being 'overcrowded', I suspect that's one of those words that gets trotted out as an excuse for xenophobia and which isn't borne out by the facts. The South East may be too heavily populated but it's certainly not the case in the rest of the country.

LunaticFringe · 19/06/2012 11:57

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

flatpackhamster · 19/06/2012 12:12

CogitoErgoSometimes

Why not? Perhaps this industrious person has an equally industrious family. Perhaps, by having their family close by, they spend their earnings locally rather than sending it overseas. Maybe their children keep the local school open that is in danger of closing due to a falling birth-rate.

Or maybe, they don't.

As for being 'overcrowded', I suspect that's one of those words that gets trotted out as an excuse for xenophobia and which isn't borne out by the facts. The South East may be too heavily populated but it's certainly not the case in the rest of the country.

Problem being, of course, that the migrants go where the jobs are, and that's SE England. Over the last 10 years, 70% of migrants ended up in London and SE England. The overwhelming majority went in to London.

redrubyshoes · 19/06/2012 12:31

I went to see a play about children being held in detention centres (Yarls Wood) while their parents claims for asylum were being investigated and afterwards there was a question and answer session which turned into a bit of a bun fight.

Local MPs were there and a doctor from Yarls Wood and staff to answer questions and I was a tad stunned at how naive some of the campaigners were about their 'close it down' protests.

It is shocking that it can years to process a claim for asylum in which time people establish homes, families, friends, a social network, jobs and a life. The claim finally gets processed and is rejected and they find themselves in a place like Yarls Wood awaiting deportation.

Asylum claims should (in an ideal world) should be sorted at immigration but they are not and yes the way it is done at the moment has lots of flaws and problems.

What I found interesting was the 'inside view' of the staff of Yarls Wood and the bits that the campaigners tried to shout down.

Yarls Wood contains asylum seekers who are wanted for serious crimes in their own countries - think genocide in Rwanda or rape, robbery, torture etc etc.

Not all asylum seekers are honest, but I think Britain as a country has a duty to shelter people whose lives are genuinely going to be endangered if they are returned to their native country.

Not sure what point I am trying to make here really. I learnt a lot that night about how blinkered some people can be about human rights and those 'poor people' being held behind bars like criminals. Some of them are criminals of the worst kind and should be deported to face up to their crimes in a court of their own country.

niceguy2 · 19/06/2012 12:45

And that's why FPH the govt needs to continue to encourage investment outside of London & the SE. People go where the jobs are. If we create more jobs outside of the SE then both migrants and natives will move there.

But the country is not full. We're just not making the best use of our resources.

LittenTree · 19/06/2012 13:06

The trouble with such debates as these is that all data is based on individual situations. Some therefore argue that because the cabbage picker may have 'an industrious family' (once the state has paid out for 12 years to educate them- as IF the family arrive as 'industrious adults' they do not fit my definition of the trailing family the cabbage picker imports, they are working, tax paying, productive immigrant adults in their own right)- all cabbage picker should be permitted to import their family.

I am not sure that we should be being 'forced into'... (Q: ) " What the government need to be doing is encouraging companies to relocate further afield. This is starting to happen. For example BBC moving to the NW" < VERY unhappily and half-heartedly- most of the execs still 'live' in the Home Counties and commute- fact > ."And of course the high speed rail links which hopefully will encourage people to move further out (but I accept it may have the opposite effect)". < What's the first thing any estate agent tells you beyond the number of bedrooms in a house? How long is the commute to London!) >

"As for water, we really REALLY shouldn't have an issue. We're a bloody island surrounded by it and it rains so flipping much" < it may have done in the past but it hasn't been over the past 8 years! >. "The real issue isn't population but the fact we're not managing it correctly" < why should we pay out to 'manage' our population? Why should we openly walk into a situation where it has become so large and unwieldy that we need to? > ." So whilst London is in drought, reservoirs in Scotland and the lakes were full. What we really need is a national grid for water, just like we have for electricity. Or invest in desalination plants which despite what the environmentalists would have you believe are actually pretty green". < but eyewateringly expensive > - I might add that overcoming this environmental barrier to ongoing breakneck development will have the effect of increasing development further. Why should we have to rethink how we manage 'our resources' if the purpose is to allow our population to expand further??

OK, the SE is far more crowded that central Wales. But the jobs that immigrants want (and houses etc) tend to be concentrated in the SE as that's where people want to be... but interestingly- I assume you've been to France- why isn't France anything like as crowded as the UK? Why isn't every summer weekend a race against time to get to somewhere nice by 8.30am otherwise you'll be sitting in a traffic queue for 3 hours, then be utterly unable to park?

Finally as for 'overcrowding' causing xenophobia, actually, I think unchecked numbers of immigrants who are not seen to be contributing to our society who then, via council rules appear to get preferential treatment by councils cause feelings of xenophobia to rise. The DM has no trouble finding examples! If an 'immigrant wave' were allowed to settle and assimilate before the next arrived, there'd be far less of an issue to the affected people, those being those who are maybe battling for the same limited state resources..

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CogitoErgoSometimes · 19/06/2012 13:09

Well said niceguy2. I'm a big supporter of relocating big government departments and organisations like the BBC in the regions. The country does not stop at the M25. However, IME 'local people' (shades of League of Gentlemen) are often reluctant to go where the jobs are, preferring to stay in their immediate area and complain bitterly about more enterprising types prepared to cross continents in search of work.

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