Is it possible to have a win-win immigration policy? I believe there is. One that firstly benefits the British people and secondly, people interested in immigration or working experience.
Firstly, let’s look at the side effects and problems with the current ‘open door’ policy. The population has roughly grown from 58 million in 2000 to 64 million now and mainly through immigration – without politicians asking the British people if they agreed. A large amount has been from Eastern Europe, including skilled and unskilled, where pay is lower, and there has been free movement of people, as a result of UK membership of the EU. This has led to increases in rents, house prices, pressure on public services, schools, hospitals, congestion, public spending/borrowing and more. Meanwhile unemployment is still high at over 6%, instead of the 2% to 3% before joining the EEC/EU. Real wages have actually fallen by around 2.2%, since 2010, while during the 80s, when there was a fall in population, real wages rose by over 2.9% a year, and benefits of productivity were shared amongst the workforce in higher pay. With so many new immigrants, pay rates have fallen and also some businesses offer work in unsafe conditions. Is this progress?
There are around 500 million people in the EU, who can freely move to the UK. Actually it is more than that, which people are not talking about, and this is the 100 million or more people in south and central America who can get EU passports if they have parents or grandparents from Portugal, Spain, Italy or Greece.
These figures are huge for a small island with a lot of people. British people like their countryside and do not wish to live in a concrete jungle of high rises. The same people that are happy to see the UK population rise, also would like CO2 emissions to fall – how does this make sense?
This free flow has also affected the performance of Eastern European economies and society- adversely. They have lost millions of skilled people – who they paid for in education – motivated people and entrepreneurs who create businesses and jobs. And also less people means less spending so less tax revenues. Western Europe has been asset stripping these countries of their people. In fact some villages, there are little or no young people – so who looks after the elderly? The disabled?
In addition, there is growing space needed for tourists who generate jobs and spend money, also students for studying and also business people in business, or in job rotation with multi-nationals getting UK experience.
People in Britain have also seen their culture – including free speech – eroded to suit immigrants. Many immigrants do not agree with this and agree this is wrong. If they wanted to live by German or French laws, they would have moved to Germany or France.
However there are also benefits of free movement allowing British citizens to move, live freely in other EU countries. For example, young people may like to work for a season in a ski resort, or at a restaurant in the summer on the Mediterranean, or get a job in another country. In addition retired people may like to retire in warmer countries.
Lets’ look at Greece, as an example as well. They joined the EU and got:
- Free movement of people
- Free trade
- Benefits from lower labour costs
- Overseas Greeks sending back remittances
- EU financial handouts
- Benefits from tourism – their beaches are like their oil, a natural resource
- With no visa easy travel, people from other countries retired there, like permanent tourists spending money.
And still it is a mess. Why? There are no consequences for irresponsible behaviour. People can vote for corrupt politicians or also incompetent ones, and if it doesn’t work out, they just leave their country. The British people are not responsible for who is elected in other countries, so do not deserve to pay for problems created in those countries.
Things that affect prosperity are many, including: culture, language, philosophy, work ethic, integrity of politicians or corruption, competence of politicians and more. This is in the hands of each country for them to develop and improve. Turkey, a non-EU country, is doing better than Greece.
The current UK politicians have been irresponsible and have failed to do what MPs have traditionally done – putting the interests of the British people first.
Here are some suggestions for a win-win immigration policy, remembering that policies work both ways:
- Any new Eastern Europeans wishing to come to the UK only get a 1 year working visa, after which they return to their country. They do not come with any children, nor claim any benefits for their children living in their home country. They also have private health insurance.
- Any immigrants from the rest of the world can come if they satisfy a ‘points system’ criteria, that benefits the UK e.g. a skill the UK lacks, qualifications, age, and finances. Quotas from countries for 1 year work visas, with private health insurance, after which they return to their own country.
- Retired people can come to the UK, if they have sufficient income to pay to live here
- Businesses can have quotas of skilled people they wish to bring in for fixed periods of rotation around the world, for UK experience.
- People from overseas wishing to buy property need to have lived in the UK for 3 to 5 years and been in the UK for 6 months or more, each year.
- Other EU countries, a number of which have similar income to the UK, can have free movement of people, as long as: their unemployment rate is below 5%. If it is between 5% and 6% then they can have a 2 year working visas. Between 6% and 7% a 1 year working visas. Between 7% and 8% a 6 month visa. Above 8% a points system is needed.
UK citizens get benefits from moving, and also other Europeans get opportunities to come to the UK, work, save some money, return and maybe set up a business in their own country and prosper. This policy also begins to reward responsible behaviour and voting in other countries, so helping better politicians emerge and get elected. Businesses would also feel more comfortable trying ideas like these, than only a points system. These suggestions could help UKIP get more votes and MPs, as they are incremental and offer opportunities to change depending on results.