Friday, April 20, 2007
Immigration harms the poor: it's official. No 'points' in doing something about it.
At last an immigration minister admits that mass immigration harms the poor. Liam Byrne's comments this week come in a report Rethinking Immigration and Integration: A New Centre-Left Agenda to be published at the end of the month. Coincidentally, the long trumpeted 'points' system for immigration that was to be rolled out this week has been delayed: until the same date. Mind you, after the recent set of inept Home Office proposals, 'Enforcing the Rules', we should not be surprised at a delay.
Economists with expertise in migration have always pointed out that a big influx must mean lower wages and unemployment. The most recent research (2003) shows that across the EU for every hundred new migrant workers, 83 native workers eventually are displaced.
Immigration 'points' is pure spin and is not in any way going to solve the problem. Where I worked in Managed Migration, we dealt with well over half a million applications annually: many more than Work Permits UK handled; and we granted almost all of them. According to Migrationwatch, only one in five migrants come here to work. There are all sorts of routes for legal migration, none of which a 'points' system will shut down; and regarding those who are coming here specifically to work, we already have a 'work permits' system that is supposed to do just what is advocated by a 'points' system.
'Points' are not going to clamp down on those coming here as bogus marriage partners, bogus students, and the myriad other categories people so easily hoodwink the authorities to so portray themselves when actually they are illegal economic migrants. This is quite apart from the now millions of illegal migrants we have -- not least because we can't be bothered even to note let alone to track arrivals/departures. The immigration figures also out this week show that the bulk of official settlement is through 'family reunion'.
'Points' will apply to those who are dealt with already by Work Permits UK. This is the part of the Immigration & Nationality Directorate that supposedly brings in people our economy needs. It is the organisation that brought us hordes of IT professionals when native British IT professionals were emigrating in droves. Like the rest of the IND it doesn't work. It would help if it properly checked that those it gives work permits to, actually turn up to the specific job they have supposedly accepted. It would also help if checks were made to ensure that employers first had tried to find staff locally. In any case, there is a supply of millions of unnecessary migrant workers both legal and illegal quite outside the 'work permits' route.
The big long-term problem Britain faces, according to Frank Field MP, is low productivity: low output per worker. In the last few years we have imported millions of people who, if they work at all, are unskilled and semi-skilled. This is to import people and at the same time to export jobs. Our native workers either lose their jobs or their pay falls. This impacts much more on those already near the bottom of the employment heap. These people then ask themselves the question: why work?
The collapse in incentives to work is made worse by the drying up of training opportunities. It is because employers can so easily source abroad that they have given up training. Poaching from other firms became all the rage but then all firms stopped bothering to train and now everyone looks to Poland and elsewhere overseas. New Labour's Education! Education! Education! is all about sending most people to university who should instead be given vocational training to fill the skills gaps employers complain about.
The Home Office's 'Enforcing the Rules' report was a classic but all too usual product of that Department. What it says on the outside is the very opposite of what it contains. It is clear that there will be little in the way of any enforcing of rules: instead there will be buck passing to employers, banks, and other agencies, without proper partnership agreements; and no proper systems to check applications for National Insurance numbers, benefits and the like. When the proposal for immigration 'points' finally emerges, we will see that we are not going to get any substantial change in the rules either.
It's business as usual re immigration at the Home Office, whatever are the words of the immigration minister. And actually, the words of the minister in the Rethinking Immigration report bar the headline quotes are the usual economically illiterate rhetoric about how supposedly mass immigration is good for us. In the various essays in this very long report there is an admission that the Left got it wrong, and how bad is political correctness. The analysis goes nothing like far enough. It is the backlash by the Left against ordinary people that is the root of the complete failure by the Government to control our borders. The Left will never admit that their 'peoples movement' has turned into the movement that hates its own people.