Tag Archives: immigration

Opinion: The Immigration Premium: A positive approach to immigration

This concept of an Immigration Premium was developed after watching Nick Clegg struggle to counter Nigel Farage on the subject of immigration in the European election debates. The UKIP leader is correctly able to state that we have an open door policy to European Immigration and hundreds of thousands of people arrive year after year, putting immense strains on housing, education, healthcare and other infrastructure elements.

The Immigration Premium turns this problem on its head. New immigrants (identifiable by NI number) have high levels of employment and through sheer weight of numbers make a major contribution to the exchequer both through direct taxes and indirect spending. In fact, immigration is a major factor in the economy’s return to growth. The Immigration Premium identifies additional tax revenues generated by immigration and directs additional funds to the geographic areas and services most directly affected by sudden influxes of large numbers of new people.

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Opinion: On immigration, let’s keep out of this race to the bottom

If there’s one area of political debate where perception triumphs over reality, it’s immigration. While the public rate it as the number one issue facing Britain, it tumbles to 12th place when they’re asked what concerns them most at a personal level, behind the more pressing issues of pensions, health and household finances.

This is the ‘disconnect’ between what people hear about in our debate on immigration – fanned by political opportunists and their media allies – and the reality they experience in their daily lives. It’s the doorstep charge of “well there are just too many of them,

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Nick Clegg’s speech on immigration: baby steps in a liberal direction

Nick Clegg Q&A 12When I read Nick Clegg’s immigration speech yesterday I breathed a sigh of relief. It’s sensible and mostly liberal.

Which means it’s a stark contrast to his March 2013 attempt: that was probably the most dire speech I’ve ever heard from a Lib Dem leader. Back then, Nick took credit for net migration having fallen by a third, even though net migration is, as Vince Cable has repeatedly pointed out, an absurd measure of success. He also came up with the unworkable proposal for security bonds (ie, upfront cash payments) for immigrants from ‘high-risk’ countries entering the UK.

Fast forward 18 months and both have been ditched.

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The Independent View: “I’m a believer in the benefits of well-managed immigration” says Clegg

Nick CleggOn Tuesday, in a speech in Manor House in north London, Nick Clegg gave a major speech on immigration. Like the immigration speech he gave last year, hosted by CentreForum, his recent speech will be hotly debated and greatly misrepresented.

The speech was clearly an attempt to provide reassurance to the British public that the Lib Dems wanted a fair immigration system that enabled “the brightest and the best” to come to work and study in the UK but was robust in stamping out cheating and abuse. Nick believes this is important because:

… being a nation at ease with diversity and difference does not happen by accident. Successful immigration systems have to be managed. People need to see that they are good for society as a whole. Otherwise all you do is create fear and resentment – you give populists an open goal.

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Lord Roger Roberts writes… Exit checks and the Eurotunnel: A logistical nightmare

EUROTUNNEL calaisThe Coalition Agreement included a commitment to reintroduce exit checks by the end of this Parliament.

But any means of noting or recording who enters and who leaves the UK was removed in 1998 by Labour, who considered the checks, ‘an inefficient use of resources … contributing little to the integrity of the immigration control’. Clearly, today’s debate on immigration has moved on considerably.

Since the early ‘Noughties’, successive attempts have been made to restore some form of border records, principally through the introduction of technology-based checks for anyone departing the UK as part of a new ‘e-Borders’ programme. It …

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Liberal Democrats criticise Home Office over deportation flight report which said people were treated like commodities.

UK Border Agency enforcement teamA report in Sunday’s Observer highlighted concerns raised by the Inspector of Prisons over the treatment of people on a deportation flight to Afghanistan.

The Inspector’s full report can be read here and it makes sobering reading for anyone who cares about treating vulnerable people with respect:

Despite impressive care and concern shown by individual escort staff, detainees were not treated with enough decency in the removal process. Generally efficient procedures did not amount to respect for detainees who, it seemed to us, were seen as commodities

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Opinion: Queen’s Speech – the success and failures of coalition in a nutshell

Nutshell 2One part of the Queen’s Speech – or rather one absence from it – neatly encapsulates the Liberal Democrat experience in coalition government, both good and bad. It is the absence from it of an immigration (dislike thereof) bill.

A solo Tory government would have introduced one and – thanks to Labour’s attitudes towards immigration – even a minority Tory government might well have got an anti-immigration bill through Parliament. It’s the Liberal Democrat presence in government which has stopped it.

photo by: steffenz
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Brian Paddick writes…We must challenge UKIP on the facts

Turning point in politics?So where are we?  The UK and the rest of Europe have lurched to the right.  People and countries are becoming more insular and less internationalist, less tolerant of difference and are looking for “others” to blame.  Almost inevitably during times of austerity, people do not like those inflicting the pain, however necessary.  Of course, some will argue that the cuts in public spending are not necessary, are not fair, are not reasonable, do not need to be so severe or all of the above.  The fact is, for years the UK has been spending more than it earns in taxation

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Opinion: Immigration and unemployment – an idea

Words.Two popular arguments deployed against immigration are that immigrant’s take jobs from British workers or that immigrants are a burden on the welfare state. Both arguments have been shown to be largely invalid: the Lump of Labour fallacy  has long been dismissed as economic bunkum; and existing evidence suggests that the net contribution of recent migrants to Britain’s public finances is positive. However, according to this evidence from  Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London not all groups of migrants make a positive fiscal contribution …

photo by: Nina J. G.
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Opinion: 485 million, 26 million or 4,000? UKIP’s immigration confusion

Nigel Farage, Leader, UK Independence Party (UKIP)So, Mr Farage, which is it? In the debates with Nick Clegg, you claimed 485 million of our fellow Europeans could come to Britain. On your wretched billboards, you claimed 26 million are eyeing up our jobs. Now, on leaflets that are dropping through letterboxes, you claim 4,000 EU migrants are landing on our shores each week. These are very different numbers.

I guess the 485 million figure is simply the total number of people who could legally come to the UK. But how is this different from pointing out that the 64 million people who live in the UK are all perfectly free to move to, say, Totnes? Should Totnes Town Council leave the UK so it can impose border controls? Should National Rail blow up the railway line at Dawlish to slow their arrival? Should the Government impose restrictions on internal movement within the UK just in case? Of course not, because 64m people aren’t about to move to Totnes, even though they’re free to do so, just as 485 million Europeans are not going to come here to Britain.

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Opinion: How we made policy on asylum issues

Advocates disrupt transfer of asylum seekers from VillawoodEver wondered how party policy is made? I was on the “Immigration, Asylum and Identity” Policy Working Group, and the process has taken a whole year. Living in the north east, I daren’t begin to add up the cost of the fares, and food on the move, for meetings every 10 days on an evening in London, but it was an opportunity to get some good and Liberal policies for the Party for those asylum seekers who seek sanctuary in the UK.

Between March and …

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Call Clegg: Ukraine, Europe, Boris’s mansion tax, Vince’s ‘gaffe’, collective responsibility and immigration

First up on this morning’s Call Clegg was, unsurprisingly, Ukraine. After discussing the situation generally Clegg was asked why he thought financial support for the country was a good idea. His response was clear:

It is in our interests to have a stable rather than unstable Ukraine.  It is in our interests to have a prosperous rather than an impoverished Ukraine.  Because if Ukraine is in a sense brought to its knees economically and socially never mind what the military incursions are from Russia, we’ll end up frankly paying a much higher cost in the years to come.

Next up he repeated …

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Farage says Britain’s becoming “unrecognisable”. But the British public says our sense of belonging is increasing.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage was dog-whistling for all he was worth at his party’s spring conference this week:

“In scores of our cities and market towns, this country, in a short space of time, has, frankly, become unrecognisable. Whether it is the impact on local schools and hospitals, whether it is the fact that in many parts of England you don’t hear English spoken any more, this is not the kind of community we want to leave to our children and grandchildren.”

His words were eerily reminiscent of William Hague’s insidious “foreign land” speech in 2001. And his party’s slogan …

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My favourite Vince Cable quote on Tory immigration policy

Vince Cable smiling - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsThe good news is that more people chose to come to the UK last year. Net migration to the UK increased to 212,000 in the year to September 2013, up from 154,000 in the previous year. As the independent Office for Budget Responsibility has shown before: if you want increased growth, you should welcome immigration.

Here’s how Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable put it, according to the BBC:

Vince Cable welcomed the increase in net migration to the UK, saying

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Julian Huppert on making sure the end of child detention is underpinned in law

Julian Huppert MP has written over at the Party’s shiny new website about moves he has made to ensure that child detention has gone for good. One of the very first things the Coalition did, at the instigation of the Liberal Democrats, was to change policy so that children were not detained in horrible places like Yarl’s Wood and Dungavel for immigration purposes. That has now been put on a statutory footing, again thanks to the Liberal Democrats:

Working closely with Norman Baker in the Home Office I was able to secure a commitment from the Home Secretary that the

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Julian Huppert MP writes: Lib Dem immigration policy paper is strong, balanced and compassionate

Public concern about immigration has been fuelled by the rise of UKIP, and further driven by the Tories desperately trying to show how tough they can be on foreigners, and Labour keen not to be left out of the ‘sounding tough’ rhetoric. I am always disappointed that just about the only thing Labour has apologised for is letting too many people into the country in their 13 years.

We must stand firm against the anti-foreigner tide, and the Immigration Policy Paper, which you can read here, does exactly that. Andrew Stunell has led the working group impressively to produce a …

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Immigration minister Mark Harper quits. An honourable resignation? Inevitable is nearer the mark

Mark Harper, Conservative immigration minister, today resigned after learning his cleaner did not have permission to work in the UK. Here’s how the BBC reports it:

Mr Harper notified Prime Minister David Cameron, who accepted his resignation “with regret”, Number 10 said. It added there was “no suggestion” the 43-year-old Conservative MP for the Forest of Dean had “knowingly employed an illegal immigrant”. Fellow Tory James Brokenshire has been appointed the new immigration minister.

His resignation is being hailed as honourable, though I think inevitable is nearer the mark. There is no suggestion he acted illegally, and in his own version …

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Why has Nick Clegg backed plan to deprive terror suspects of citizenship?

A last-minute government amendment to the Immigration Bill which would give the Home Secretary the power to deprive terror suspects of British citizenship even if it would make them stateless has made all the headlines. Well, the cynic in me suggests that it neatly deflects attention from the abject failure of David Cameron to keep his right-wing backbenchers under control. So far he hasn’t been able to stop Dominic Raab and Nigel Mills from tabling amendments which, if passed, would render the Bill illegal as far as the European Convention on Human Rights is concerned. He is unlikely to …

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Opinion: UKIP – let’s have a debate about low skills

strawberriesThere has been an inconsistency between two highly prominent policy areas that has been niggling away at the back of my mind for quite some time now.  UKIP needs to take note.

So, take two policy areas and also take into account the temperature (at least according to the Daily Mail, etc) of the voters.

The first area is education.  Schools that do not match up to the floor levels at Key Stage 2 and at GCSE are pounced upon by Ofsted.  They require improvement or are put into special measures.  All children must get 5 good GCSEs.  They must progress and they must aspire.  Think of the slogans that populate the UK and US education policy discourse: “no child must be left behind; “every child matters”; and social mobility is regarded and upheld as a kind of rebalancing panacea to address all social ills and help narrow the gap.

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Opinion: Postcard from a British immigrant in Poland

As a Briton living and working in Poland I am ashamed of the small-mindedness David Cameron is encouraging in Britain by attacking Polish immigrants and insinuating that they are nothing but benefit scroungers. It is doing great damage to our image here and cutting deep into the trust and respect between our peoples.

I am a guest in this country, an economic migrant if you will. Since coming here to Warsaw in 2010 no one has ever uttered even the mildest criticism of my taking up the opportunity to work here (at an international college of European studies). Far from it …

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Opinion: Farage: The Nostradamus of Politics

Fear is a powerful motivator. Take, for example, its use in two political campaigns, one from each side of the Atlantic: the Daisy Girl ad, used in the re-election campaign of US president Lyndon Johnson in 1964; and the Labour tax bombshell broadcast, from our own Conservatives in 1992.

One made American voters ask, “Do I really want Barry Goldwater – a man who joked about lobbing a nuclear bomb at the Kremlin – to have his finger hovering over the red button?” The other made British voters ask, “Do I really want Labour to …

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Opinion: The Immigration Trap

For liberal fundamentalists, open-door immigration policy exerts a fatal attraction.  Right-wing economic liberals advocate the freedom to recruit cheap labour on the global market and make British business more profitable and competitive.  Traditional centre-left liberals advocate anti-racism and individual freedom to migrate.  Thus, immigration is one of those special issues which can be claimed to bring Left and Right together, and thereby supersede these “outdated” political concepts with an all-conquering philosophy of Liberalism.

Joe Public will have none of this.  Joe believes it is bonkers to import shiploads of foreign labour while millions of natives

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Immigration: 87% of Lib Dem members back free movement of EU people; but 65% also support benefit restrictions for EU migrants

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 750 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

87% of Lib Dems support the free movement of EU citizens

Overall, do you support or oppose the right of people in EU countries to live and work wherever they want?

    87% – Support
    6% – Oppose
    1% – Don’t know
    5% – Other

An overwhelming proportion (87%) of Lib Dem members support the right of …

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Opinion: Tories’ anti immigration rhetoric represents opportunity for Liberal Democrats

As the day when Britain opens its doors to indefatigable hoards of Eastern European immigrants arrives, yet more desperation can be witnessed from grassroots Tory activists running scared of UKIP. 90 local Conservative activists have pleaded with David Cameron to extend controls on immigrants arriving from Bulgaria or Romania until 2018. Quite laughably, the group claim that this would be fully within EU law. This comes on the same day in which the Government announced further restrictions on migrants’ access to the NHS – an initiative designed to combat ‘health tourism’ and accordingly, completely at odds with any …

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Same story, two very different headlines

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fail headline on IPPR report

 

This is a screnshot of today’s Daily Fail scare story. It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? If you’re a right wing tabloid wanting to persuade people that the entire populations of Romania and Bulgaria will be camping in their back yard a week on Wednesday, you are going to write that sort of headline.

Of course, it’s only mildly inconvenient that the actual report on which you base your, well, story is probably the right word says something a little different.  And that the report is …

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Opinion: Shades of Grey 2: Six Useful Facts to Help You Chillax this Christmas

  1. There are nine countries to which Romanians and Bulgarians can travel to from 1 January: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Spain (only Romanians), the UK and Switzerland.
  2. There are around 6.5 million Romanians and 2.1 million Bulgarians in the age group 20-39, 8.6 million in total.
  3. So far, 1.9 million Romanians and 0.35 million Bulgarians have already emigrated to other EU countries (Eurostat 2010, Open Society Insititute Sofia, 2011), including 80,000 Romania-born persons to the UK (ONS 2011) and 160,000 to Germany (German Office of Migration Studies , 2013).
  4. Labour and skills shortages are reported from Bulgaria and in

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: Slam the door on EU migrants and it is Britain that will get hurt

There are many Liberal Democrats, myself included, who feel distinctly uneasy about the changes that the Coalition has made to EU benefits changes, agreed to by Nick Clegg. My personal view is that while these changes save the country a very small amount of money, tackling a problem that doesn’t really exist, we lose a lot more by ceding ground to UKIP and the Tory right.

From Nick’s point of view, though, he feels that he’s agreed to it to make the system fairer and acceptable to British taxpayers in the current climate. He’s fine with free movement around the …

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Lord Roger Roberts writes…Liberal Democrats in Government must fix failing asylum system

Yesterday was International Migrants Day. Sadly, celebrations for many were rather subdued.  morning marked the end of a long, hard and emotionally-charged  battle. Isa Muazu, a 45 year old asylum seeker from northern Nigeria, who had been on hunger strike for nearly 90 days, landed in Lagos, Nigeria.

Lawyers and campaigners fighting his cause ran out of avenues through which they could challenge the removal decision in the limited time-frame given. The case has been enormously distressing for many of those who have chosen to engage with it, but it has also raised the profile of many long-standing concerns surrounding immigration detention in …

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Opinion: Europe and peace – the ties that bind and the dangers of the rise of the right

There are many sound economic reasons why Britain’s continued membership of the EU is good for our country and for Europe itself. We are already making that case as the Euro elections approach in May 2014 and must continue to do so.

However, there is one over-riding reason that is barely getting mentioned as the whiff of ‘little-Englander patriotism’ in euro-sceptic campaigning risks once again becoming the stench of right-wing xenophobic nationalism in Britain and across Europe.

The historical development of the EU has provided the ties that bind European nations together in peace after a century of vicious blood-letting, including the …

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Opinion: Immigration – the shades of grey

Immigration remains a toxic topic for politicians in Britain – but those of us in the political centre cannot afford to dodge this debate, or we risk standing by while Britain becomes a country known for xenophobia, not tolerance.

Across the UK, people are facing a tough Christmas this year. If you can pay your electricity bill without too much trouble this winter, you’re one of the lucky ones. Many argue that immigration, or immigrants, are somehow to blame for this hardship. After all – ‘they’ are taking our jobs, using up our welfare budget, and filling up our local A&E …

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  • User AvatarJohnTilley 30th Sep - 11:00am
    Bill ".,,,,,This is why November is a key moment for influencing the result of a May election and why Parties which have the resources spend...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 30th Sep - 10:59am
    Economic policy written by Prateek Buch? The person who thinks inflation doesn't really matter? When it comes to pragmatism I am afraid it is hard...
  • User AvatarJohn Penson 30th Sep - 10:56am
    Sounds very interesting. Can you make it an e book so I can read it on my Kindle? Better way to spread the word in...
  • User Avatarmack (Not a Lib dem) 30th Sep - 10:55am
    @Julian Tisi "Yawn. It’s the old debt versus deficit difference again." Yes, it's funny that those dumb economists at the Daily Telegraph don't appreciate the...
  • User AvatarConor McGovern 30th Sep - 10:50am
    @Eddie - fair point. Obviously we have to be pragmatic, but in my view the leadership are being far too timid when it comes to...
  • User AvatarRuwan Kodikara 30th Sep - 10:44am
    Fantastic news! It will be a huge asset having you in the Lords as a working peer. The party has long championed engineering and manufacturing...