Baroness Sally Hamwee writes: Developing a distinctly liberal policy on immigration

If you follow the detailed development of party policy you may be aware that the deadline for written responses to the party’s current consultation papers passed yesterday although the online consultation remains open until 1pm on 12 April. As a member of the Immigration, Refugees and Identity working group I wanted to thank all of those who submitted such thorough responses to our own paper.

LDV has carried some articles about the paper and this seems a good moment to offer my own perspective on some of the criticisms that have emerged – which is by no means to dismiss comments or to attempt the final word, just another part of the process.

The group has taken evidence from a range of experts covering immigration law, the workings of the immigration system, refugees, integration and social cohesion, including attitudinal studies of those who have seen their communities evolve one way or another, due to demographic change. The approach that we have taken in the consultation paper has been informed by this.

We are seeking to develop a distinctively liberal policy on immigration, refugees and identity that is humane, treats people fairly and is effective. It is very clear to me – both from the evidence we have taken as well as any number of stories in the press over the past year and, most important, what I have heard direct from individuals and organisations working in the area – that the current system is failing on all three of these criteria.  The government actively promotes a “hostile environment”; that makes me ashamed. It is one thing to seek to establish a controlled immigration system, but quite another to set up a system which is widely perceived as xenophobic. The UK should be trying to build its reputation as open-minded, open-hearted and welcoming of migrants, for hard economic as well as simple human reasons.

One line of criticism that has come through blogs and the consultation is that the paper is not ambitious enough and is seeking only minor adjustments to existing policy. This is not how I see it: the central proposal in the introduction to the paper is that we should promote a liberal and humane attitude towards migration that will enable people more easily to come to the UK for work, to be with their families and for sanctuary. Reference to procedure is because the group wants a policy that makes the migration process much more efficient (I include accuracy in that), while making sure that this isn’t abused by people smugglers who would bring vulnerable people here illegally. 

I am personally very concerned about the UK’s restrictive approach to family union/reunion (I currently have a private member’s bill on this, and am working with the promoters of the very similar bill in the Commons). Many families in our global world are international, which is not a fact that our government seems to acknowledge, but it is important to me that our final policy in this area does recognise that and ensures that the rules should be more humane in this area.

Another argument that has been put forward in blogs is that we have not asked far-reaching questions that are broad in scope. These are at the start of the consultation paper: where we look at our future relationship with the EU (Q1-3), what people want the migration system to look like (Q4) and how we might lead public opinion in a more liberal direction (Q5). And at the consultation session at Southport the chair allocated 25 minutes for questions and responses people felt fell outside the scope of the paper.  This was one of the most productive sections of an excellent and good-natured session; what was said will not be ignored.

I do think that, as part of developing policy, it is important that we consider public opinion. This absolutely does not mean accepting the views of the right wing press as representing public opinion.  Nor should we regard the subject as toxic and to be avoided, as, though they deny it, Labour do – that panders to the right wing. There is an increasing amount of evidence that the majority of people in the UK have a nuanced view of immigration – understanding that there are benefits but also having concerns about pressure on public services. This is a reasonable position for people to hold, and I believe that we can and should develop a liberal policy that doesn’t actively repel this group.

Finally, I would like to emphasise that this was a consultation process.  The document we produced gave a flavour of some of the policies we are considering, some that we were interested in gauging opinion on to inform our thinking, and some previous Lib Dem policies on which we wanted to hear opinions. The constructive approach of respondents has given us food for thought and the working group will be doing just that, working, towards a paper for the party to consider. Thank you again to everyone who has taken the time to feed in to this process.

* Sally Hamwee is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords, and the Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee on Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities.

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  • there are benefits but also having concerns about pressure on public services. This is a reasonable position for people to hold

    Only until they understand that pressure on public services is to do with government allocation of funds and nothing to do with immigrants — nothing except that immigrants actually help prop up those public services, particularly health and social care, and should be appreciated rather than demonized.

    Immigrants pay as much or more in taxes as native Brits, so there’s no need to place the blame for infrastructure faults with them. This is not really a reasonable position for people to hold and its incumbent on us to inform them better and change that cultural narrative.

  • Thanks for writing this Sally.

    However, I am afraid the online consultation you mention at the start of your piece simply raises more concerns from my side.

    Let’s take one question from it as an example.

    We are asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 the statement
    “UK citizens should be allowed to bring immediate family (spouse/partner, children under 18) irrespective of their income, as long as they are self-sufficient, i.e can support them and provide housing without recourse to public funds.”

    Where is the option to dispute the premise of the question? If I disagree with this statement will the working group think that any immigration is bad, or that the test of self-sufficiency is too strict? This is drafted as two questions at once, with two very different answers meriting the same response in twrms of ticking boxes in the survey.

    And self-sufficiency – pre-supposed by the question as the most liberal option – is too strict. Let’s remember the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for example:
    Article 16 notes “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.”

    It seems to me that this liberal principle applies here: there should be no pecuniary barrier to love, and we should not give more rights to the wealthy than we give to those without.

    I am still very worried that this consultation is asking the wrong questions, and not placing liberal ends and equal treatment of people as our first priority. After all, the introduction to the consultation places public confidence in the system as an equal good to the treatment of immigrants. Why? I’d rather do the right thing first and worry what people think about it later. Especially when it comes to matters of equality and the treatment of human beings.

  • “We are seeking to develop a distinctively liberal policy on immigration, refugees and identity that is humane, treats people fairly and is effective”

    I can’t speak to effectiveness, but there is not a chance in hell the consultation as currently framed will produce a policy that is liberal, humane, or fair.

    And Holly is right: until we stop pandering to the self- sabotaging “concerns” of ill-informed people and the racists who purposefully keep those people ill-informed we will never produce a policy that is liberal, humane, or fair.

    We could, indeed, go through the entire process with the paper as produced. But surely it would be less painful to listen to the outcry this horrifically illiberal paper has prompted, extend the consultation period, and start again from first principles rather than trying to polish the poo?

  • Arnold Kiel 7th Apr '18 - 9:55am

    The LibDem’s dilemma between values and votes is insoluble. I shall not bother to read the Conservative (probably lightly xenophobic fudge) and Labour (probably liberal-sounding fudge) policy-statements; there is no market for thoughtfulness on this subject. Just drop it.

  • Adam Bernard 7th Apr '18 - 11:01am

    These are at the start of the consultation paper: […] what people want the migration system to look like (Q4) […]

    “Q4: What do we mean by a sustainable migration policy, and what would it look like?”
    This is asking something quite different from what Baroness Hamwee is claiming. It’s framed as a question about sustainability, not about morality or liberalism. Someone answering the questions in order (say, in a web form!) would naturally assume that opinions on morality and liberalism would be asked about in later questions.

    The Webform’s first question, on the other hand is “What in your view is the biggest issue facing UK immigration system?”. This is again, a managerial-type question, not asking about the morality of the situation but focussing on the system. Contrast a question not asked: “What in your view is the biggest issue facing immigrants and would-be immigrants to the UK?”

    Can I also ask whether it’s normal practice to start a consultation asking for written suggestions, then add in parallel a webform with a different set of questions and a different deadline, then after the deadline for written suggestions, to extend the deadline for the webform and publicise it more widely? Were there insufficient written responses to the consultation document that this new technique was needed?

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 7th Apr '18 - 11:01am

    I agree with Holly, William, Jenny and Andrew. The paper is depressingly illiberal, and I’m afraid Sally’s article seems to accept and endorse some anti-immigration myths, which are just that – myths.
    As Holly says, it is not immigration, but lack of adequate funding, that puts pressure on public services. The NHS would not be able to function without the vital contribution of doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants from overseas.
    As William says, why should UK citizens only be able to bring partners and children to the UK if they are “self sufficient”? Surely it is a basic human right that married couples, and parents and children, should be able to live in the same country. No-one should lose this basic human right just because they happen to be unemployed or on a low income.
    William is also right in saying that many of the questions in the “consultation” on this paper were impossible to answer if one disagreed with the assumptions behind the question.
    Sally, you say that we have to listen to “public opinion”. But shouldn’t you have listened first and foremost to immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, and asked them about their experiences with the immigration system, and about what changes they would like to see? From what you say in the article, it does not sound as if you have given priority to the views of the people most affected by immigration policy – immigrants, and people who may wish to become immigrants.

  • James Brough 7th Apr '18 - 11:02am

    Trying not to see it as emblematic that the article literally starts “F you”.

    For the rest, I shall simply comment that I spent 10 years working for UKBA and there are suggestions in the paper that are less liberal the immigration laws I was working with then.

  • It’s certainly interesting that despite being over 30 pages long the consultation document does not mention Schengen once. It’s a major system dealing with the handling of visas in 26 of our closest allies – it’s a system that deals with migration in Europe (and not just the EU – it includes non-member states). It’s a system compatible with our constitutional requirement that we as a party “promote the free movement of ideas, people, goods and services”. And yet here we have a consultation document put out by the party that doesn’t mention it at all.

  • Adam Bernard 7th Apr '18 - 11:32am

    William: I suspect they thought that this would be too radical. We don’t want to move the Overton Window, do we?

  • In Wales the biggest issue with immigration is how older members of the rest of the union (most commonly English) are effectively replacing Welsh youth and how this is constricting Welsh culture. This is where the majority of the pressure on public services is felt and perhaps why a so called (unasked) “silent majority” are accepting of such shoddy treatment compared to Scotland, for example, in renaming the bridge. The desire to balance between being an open and welcoming country and nevertheless protecting home culture, and making the host country stronger, is a big question and one best worked on without the distraction of the daily mail like headline.

  • William Fowler 7th Apr '18 - 1:21pm

    Immigration has already forced Brexit upon us, we could quite easily up with with Nigel Farage in charge if the gates are opened, so to speak, however much new arrivals contribute. Careful what you wish for.

    One area thing is worth stating, illegal immigrants should not be granted any kind of residence rights and be deported to wherever they have come from regardless, otherwise you bring the law into disrepute and that propagates outwards deep into society.

  • David Evans 7th Apr '18 - 1:57pm

    I’m sorry, but libertarian nonsense like this will simply ensure we never get anywhere near power notionally ever again.

  • David Evans 7th Apr '18 - 1:57pm

    nationally, not notionally.

  • I have written a quick blog response to this, other posts, and the consultation survey itself here:

    TL, DR: The Lib Dems are going to die quickly if we don’t get bolder, more distinctive, and more liberal now.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 7th Apr '18 - 2:28pm

    David Evans, the Preamble to the Constitution states that we believe in the free movement of people.
    What would actually be the point of gaining power if we had sacrificed our principles?

  • David Evans 7th Apr '18 - 3:00pm

    Catherine Jane Crosland – Actually the preamble only refers to what Lib Dems believe in four specific areas:
    In the first paragraph where “The role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these (Lib Dem) ideals – Liberty, equality, and community etc
    Each generation is responsible for the fate of our planet,
    People should be involved in running their communities, and
    Sovereignty rests with the people.

    What it actually says is “Our responsibility for justice and liberty cannot be confined by national boundaries; we are committed to … promote the free movement of ideas, people, goods and services.” Promotion is not the same as belief. For example in many scenic areas of the UK, Lib Dems are very concerned about poor local youngsters being driven out of their local communities as a consequence of house prices being driven beyond the bounds of reason by rich people wanting holiday homes. I would support the local community in this.

  • David Evans 7th Apr '18 - 3:03pm

    As for “What would actually be the point of gaining power if we had sacrificed our principles?” I suggest you ask Nick.

  • paul barker 7th Apr '18 - 3:17pm

    Where to begin ?
    I didnt take part in the survey because -a, its the wrong model for what it seeks to do & b, because it starts from Illiberal positions. Lots of other people have spoken eloquently to b so I will talk about a.
    If the Party is serious about involving a significant minority of Members, more than 10% say then consultatation papers should be very short & ask no more than 4 questions on general principles, they should be widely publicised to every Member well in advance.
    If we send out questionaires with more than 60 questions we might as well just send them to the super-activists & exclude everyone else, that would at least be honest with ourselves.

  • Martin Walker 7th Apr '18 - 3:42pm

    Thanks for taking the time to post. However there is a difference between the tone of your article and the tone of the consultation document, which I have to say was really disappointing. Hopefully this indicates a shift.

    In your article here, you say that the Group “are seeking to develop a distinctively liberal policy on immigration, refugees and identity that is humane, treats people fairly and is effective.” The Working Group consultation paper doesn’t say that – it says that the Group was looking for “a practical, liberal policy that is robust, efficient, humane and fair and which rebuilds public confidence in our immigration system.” The emphasis on ‘robustness’ in the original report before humanity matters.

    The Working Group report, quite simply, starts from the wrong place and on the wrong premise for a liberal Party. The paragraph at 1.1.5 is probably the most depressing thing I have ever read: “By focusing on illegal immigration, Liberal Democrats can create the public space to celebrate the benefits of legal immigration and the diverse and vibrant society it has created in the UK.” Really? Are there any examples of anywhere ever where a focus on ‘illegal immigration’ in the public discourse has led to a public being more liberal in their approach to immigration and asylum?

    A focus on a long list of arbitrary questions which are borderline impossible to answer (please tell me that wasn’t the intention), such as what the limit on students from abroad should be, is pointless if the report starts from the wrong place – which I’m afraid this one does.

    While the extent of involvement of members in the policy process is great, I do hope that they will be listened to, and I suspect that means stopping digging the hole, and starting again from the right premise.

  • @David Evans:

    you seem to be arguing that while “we are committed to … promote the free movement of ideas, people, goods and services” this promotion should not affect policy. Is that correct? You seem to be suggesting that should be promoting free movement while not acting on it or proposing it impact our manifesto and what we campaign on. That’s certainly a novel approach to promoting something.

  • David Evans 7th Apr '18 - 3:59pm

    No William, it means that Lib Dems ‘seek to *balance* the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community’, and that no one aspect of liberty, in this case the personal liberty to freedom of movement, should totally override everything else. That’s what makes being a Lib Dem worthwhile but difficult, whereas absolutes make things intellectually very easy, but totally worthless. If you read Andrew’s original post there was no balance whatsoever.

  • James Baillie 7th Apr '18 - 4:32pm

    Hm, I must admit that I don’t see what aspects of equality, community, or liberty “balance out” the idea that we should promote the free movement of people? Freer movement has a well recorded positive impact on equality, is a fairly fundamental part of liberty, and is greatly beneficial to communities up and down the UK and beyond.

    Balancing those three values sure means balancing them with one another; it doesn’t mean balancing them out with inequality, division, and authoritarianism.

    Regarding the original post: whilst it’s good to see Baroness Hamwee making a personal response to the concerns of members like myself about the draft paper, I’m still unfortunately not sure that her words actually reassure me that our concerns are being addressed or treated as valid. Being concerned that migrants are unreasonably being blamed for pressure on public services that they are in general helping to relieve is a concern that is both valid and evidence-driven, and one that didn’t seem to have been well addressed in the consultation paper. The presence of questions in the online form that could not be answered validly was very concerning to me indeed (e.g. “Do you think families should be able to reunite if they can afford it, Y/N” – how does one say “I think families shouldn’t be ripped apart even if they’re poor” in that case?).

    Of course for much of this we may well have to wait and see whether these worries are addressed properly in the final paper, and I sincerely hope they will be. But I was certainly made nervous by the tone of the questions, and don’t feel I’ve received a great deal of reassurance yet that the concerns of liberal pro-immigration voters and activists are being taken account of fully in the design and process of this consultation, unfortunately.

  • David Evans 7th Apr '18 - 5:34pm

    James, If you really want to think about it, I suggest you read the second half of my post at 3:00pm.

  • John Marriott 7th Apr '18 - 6:17pm

    My family has personal experience of migration. In 1869, following the death of my great great grandfather, the females members of the Marriott family of Mansfield, Notts., emigrated to the USA, leaving behind my great grandfather and his brother. One hundred years later, given a few months, my wife and I emigrated to Canada. There were two subtle differences between me and my ancestors, firstly that they probably went out of necessity and stayed, while my wife and I went out of choice and returned. The second important difference was that, unlike them, I had a job to go to. Otherwise I would never have considered uprooting myself and my wife. Mind you, neither of us regretted the decision to emigrate as we eventually returned with, amongst other things, a much clearer perception, in particular, of the UK’s place in the world.

    This is the yardstick by which I view migration. Aside from genuine asylum seekers I personally believe that nobody should be allowed to move from one country to another unless they have either a job to go to, a place to study or unless they are joining already established members of their immediate family. So, for me it should not be Free Movement of People but rather Free Movement of Labour.

    I am sure that many LDV contributors would consider this stance illiberal; but I would remind them that it was the question of immigration that probably tipped the balance in favour of Leave nearly two years ago.

  • James Baillie 7th Apr '18 - 7:23pm

    David: multiple home ownership is… not the same as immigration. I’m confused as to how you think conflating the two helps here. Being myself a liberal who comes from a rural area with soaring house prices, the influx of wealthier commuters to my area has not in fact made a dent on the monolithically white and British-passported nature of the area I grew up in. Of course it’s entirely reasonable to ask multiple home owners to shoulder the financial and social cost of using up housing that could be better occupied, and we need to take account of population shifts and growth in providing more and better affordable housing – but those aren’t issues for this policy paper.

    John: On what grounds do you think it’s wrong for, say, an entrepreneur to move countries in order to try and set up a business in a different country to their own? Or retirees to want to retire in a different country? Or for someone whose primary language skills are particularly well suited to another country moving their to look for work? Or for someone whose unmarried romantic partner is/partners are of a different nationality wanting to maintain a family life? All of these cases are outside the rather narrow spectrum of possibilities you propose. How “immediate” family members are is of course an absurdly complex issue as well – and one, I think, that states are frequently very ill-equipped to judge indeed.

  • John Roffey 7th Apr '18 - 7:34pm

    On freedom of movement – one feature of climate change that seems to be agreed by virtually all climate scientists is that the many resulting deaths will be caused by crop failures because of extreme events [drought/flooding/temperatures too high/too low etc].

    Given that the UK can only feed around 50% of its current population and we are heading for a time of global food shortages when what food is available will be very limited and at a premium – should the Party’s preamble be changed in recognition of this?

  • John Marriott 7th Apr '18 - 9:57pm

    @James Baillie
    Of course my ‘proposals’ are not watertight. From what I can see, why else would an entrepreneur like, example, Sir James Dyson, move production to another country except to gain an advantage such as cheaper labour costs, thus depriving many of his fellow Brits the chance of employment? No wonder he is a keen supporter of Brexit.

    How many foreigners choose our country as a place to which to retire? (Let’s not mention the oligarchs given recent events.) It’s usually the other way round and has usually something to do with ‘lifestyle’. As for your unmarried partner, there’s surely an obvious answer to that, or have I missed something? If you are going to make immigration seem fair to a majority of people, who inhabit these islands, you have got to grasp the nettle.

  • David Evans 7th Apr '18 - 10:12pm

    James, we are talking about freedom of movement not simply immigration. I would have thought you would have got that, if you had looked at my comments and Andrew’s comment that triggered it. Nor does It have anything to do with the colour of a peoples’ skin in rural areas, or getting enough resources out of absentee homeowners for local services.

  • OnceALibDem 7th Apr '18 - 10:46pm

    Guys. You used to be a Liberal party. Then you encouraged and allowed people who aren’t liberals like William Fowler to join. Why is it a surprise that you then end up with non-liberal policy positions?

  • Richard Howard 7th Apr '18 - 11:30pm

    We need to recognise that “understanding that there are benefits but also having concerns about pressure on public services” and that there are overall net benefits for immigration are both true. The reason for this is that the benefits of immigration are spread evenly whereas the pressures on public services are highly concentrated.

    People naturally prefer to be around people that are similar rather than different to them. This isn’t because they’re racist or xenophobic, it’s because human interactions are difficult enough as it is without language and cultural barriers as well. Do I think that people’s lives are enriched by embracing diversity and other cultures? Yes, absolutely. But do I criticise people who choose not to? No, as a liberal they should be able to lead their lives as they wish. I myself lived in Germany when I was in the Army. Did I interact much with the local population? Not much, it was difficult. But I often thought I should.

    The point I’m making is that this natural inclination to be with people who are similar themselves is at the heart of the immigration issue. It’s what causes immigrants to cluster and also what causes people to resent their communities changing as a result of immigrants clustering in their area. We need to recognise that this is a genuine concern because it does put a localised strain on public services.

    We need to change the narrative about immigration from overall numbers to one of managing the those numbers effectively. Is 100,000 or even 300,000 immigrants per year too much? The answer is no, not if we deal with it effectively and mitigate any localised strain on public services. This should be what our policy is based upon: immigration is good overall but we should ensure that nobody is disadvantaged on a local level.

  • David Blake 8th Apr '18 - 12:42am

    OnceALibDem – how do you know that he is a member? Is he?

  • John Marriott 8th Apr '18 - 6:49am

    The fact that alleged non Liberals are allowed to air their views on LDV and feel free to do so is a fairly liberal attitude, I would say. What if a ‘non liberal policy position’ might be the right one, if it satisfies the majority of people?

  • William Fowler 8th Apr '18 - 2:50pm

    One of the great things about being in the EU, young people from poorer countries could come here to seek their fortune and older people could retire to sunnier, cheaper climes to enjoy their retirement. Personally, if that was extended worldwide I would be very happy about all the options available but those left in the UK would probably not be as happy, as already faltering public services would be overwhelmed despite increased tax revenues and a healthier population (young replacing old overall). I was always amazed, BTW, to see British rough sleepers literally within yards of foreigners working in places like Poundland with often poor English and no easy access to social housing. So on reflection, bring on freedom of movement worldwide despite the political wilderness that might result.

    PS I joined the LibDems because of pro Brexit stance and Vince Cable as one of saner, sensible leaders around and was quite surprised to find people posting economic theories that were in the realm of what Sir Vince described as fantasy but all part of the fun, I guess.

  • It is a shame that people didn’t take a more balanced view of the consultation exercise. I agree there were lots of questions where the paper didn’t provide enough information to answer. I am pleased but surprised to read that the group had “taken evidence” and the consultation paper had been “informed by this”.

    I asked in another thread and I don’t recall anyone answering so I will ask again – what is wrong from a liberal perspective with these questions?

    “Question 5: Have we done enough previously to recognise that the rules on immigration are strict and, often, inhumane? How would you promote and explain liberal changes to immigration to try and lead public opinion?

    Question 6: Can you provide examples of ways in which a more humane system would save money and enable us to more effectively monitor migration? Would you support a system that was more humane for the majority of migrants and which enabled targeting of resources at illegal immigration, including border control?

    Question 7: Considering the past 25 years, in what ways has immigration benefitted the UK in terms of society and the economy? Are there any ways in which it has been less beneficial?

    Question 23: How can we best promote the benefits to the UK of economic migration? What are the advantages of continuing freedom of movement?”

    I was pleased to note that some of my suggestions are also being suggested by LD4SOS.

    Some members believe that our preamble states that we think the UK should have a policy of allowing everyone in the world to come here to live, it doesn’t. It implies that in world which was totally liberal everyone would be able to live where they wanted and we would have defeated world hunger and world poverty and we would have established a new liberal world order. It is only once there is much better economic equality across the world that the free movement of people can take place without causing some problems both to the community left and the community joined because of the lack of balance.

  • William Fowler 9th Apr '18 - 8:14am

    So is the last post actual Liberal policy or what the poster interprets Liberal policy as being or what may happen after the consultation (based on the small number of people who bother to answer what appears to be a school test).

    If you look at somewhere like NZ which has a needs based system with very strict age limits but allows up to six months travel in a tax year without visas for many nationalities, is that an example that the LibDems would support for the UK?

  • @ William Fowler

    If you are referring to my post. I am interpreting the preamble of the constitution. No one knows what the working group will come up with and no body knows if Conference will pass it.

    “Making Migration Work for Britain” Policy Paper 116 passed in 2014 is the last policy paper passed by Conference – hopefully this link will work –

    I imagine all the people who have complained about the consultation paper will disagree with this policy paper, but I wouldn’t question of the Liberalism of Andrew Stunell, Julian Huppert and Sarah Ludford.

  • Richard Underhill 9th Apr '18 - 7:19pm

    The UK has voted to leave the EU, but not the ECtHR.

  • The party should campaign to rejoin the EU and to join Schengen this time. They should offer low cost fast track British citizenship for anyone caught up in the settler fiasco that is Tory Brexit policy, if say the affected people have been here already for say – 5 years or more and if they want it. Restrictions on immigrants working should be changed so that people can support themselves. Visas for foreign workers should be changed so no longer tied to employers, the workers in this situation do depress the market rates, the outsourcing companies that bring them in take almost all the fruits of their labour. Workers should be offered large rewards to shop employers undercutting the NMW.

  • Richard
    “People naturally prefer to be around people that are similar rather than different to them.”
    I seem to know a lot of people who don’t. It is not that difficult to learn a foreign language. In fact English people have been moving abroad for centuries.

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