Tag Archives: immigration

It’s not always so easy to get your American partner in to the UK

You would probably have a heart of stone not to feel pleased for Harry and Meghan. They are clearly two well-suited people who are very happy together.

While I’m delighted for them, I’m also very conscious that their experience is very different to that of many who try to live in this country with their partner from abroad and I want that to change.

I want this country to be a place that recognises that the world is much smaller than it used to be. It’s much easier to fall in love with someone from another country than it used to be. Mind you, one of my closest friends met her husband nearly 30 years ago at Victoria Falls when they were travelling around the world in opposite directions. They now live happily in Scotland and he is a British citizen and got to that state without too much hassle.

It can be very difficult to be allowed to live with your British spouse. A few years ago, party member Holly Matthies, who comes from the States, went through all kinds of traumas trying to get a British visa to join her husband Andrew. She wrote for this site about the toll it took on her mental health.

That first time I flew to the UK, my feckless answers to the questions I was asked — I’d just had to drop out of university due to poor mental health, so I was met with suspicion because they weren’t sure I had any reason to go back home — led to even more questions, and having to wait while the whole next planeful of new arrivals were processed, and then more questions. My partner, who was waiting to meet me, was found and asked questions to see if his answers matched mine. My checked luggage was fetched and searched. Eventually the border guards had to admit there was no reason to prevent me from entering the UK, but they seemed almost disappointed by that fact.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 7 Comments

LibLink: Vince Cable The Tory fallacy that immigrants are taking British jobs and driving down wages

It is good that people like Andrew Adonis help to build the case for a referendum on the Brexit deal. However it is profoundly depressing when both he and Tony Blair feed the “immigration is bad” narrative.

Thank goodness somebody is out there saying that immigration is actually a good thing and that this narrative that these foreigners are coming over here and taking our jobs and driving down wages. Step forward one Vincent Cable, writing in the Guardian:

At the heart of the politics of immigration is the belief, repeated by Theresa May as a fact, that immigrants, especially unskilled immigrants, depress wages. At first sight the argument seems plausible – and undeniably there is low-wage competition in some places. But there is no evidence that this is a general problem. When the coalition embarked on its review of EU competences in 2013, I commissioned a range of reviews and studies to establish the facts. They showed that the impact on wages was very small (and only in recession conditions). By and large, immigrants were doing jobs that British people didn’t want to do (or highly skilled jobs that helped to generate work for others). This research was inconvenient to the Home Office, which vetoed the publication of its results. I have now written to the prime minister to ask her to publish them as part of the current public debate.

So, the Government has evidence, commissioned by Vince, that the right wing tabloid press is talking hogwash and refuses to publish it.

And he makes an important point about the costs of immigration and who they affect:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 31 Comments

Cable calls out May on inflated estimates of overseas student numbers

For years the Tories told us overseas students were outstaying their welcome to the tune of 100,000. Thanks to border exit checks implemented at the insistence of the Liberal Democrats, those estimates have been proven to be not even on the same planet, let alone the same ball park. Only 4,600 students stayed after their studies were complete according to official Home Office figures.

Vince Cable said that the Tories should stop harping on about cracking down on foreign students.

This debacle happened on Theresa May’s watch at the Home Office. I spent five years in coalition battling her department’s bogus figures on this issue but she responded by erecting a wall of visa restrictions on an entirely false basis.

Cabinet Brexiteers fought a referendum campaign on a flawed prospectus, scapegoating foreign students who weren’t even here, and demonising EU citizens who are now leaving the country voluntarily.

No wonder the government has announced a review into the impact of foreign students because its economically disastrous policy was based on figures that were out by 96%.

As we argued repeatedly with Theresa May, overseas students bring huge economic benefits to universities and the broader economy. It makes no sense for students to be included in official immigration statistics.

Higher education is one of Britain’s most successful export industries, we must not let it be destroyed by the Conservatives’ short-sighted obsession with immigration targets based on spectacularly wrong data.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 13 Comments

Roger Roberts: Could we not be the nation that leads morally in this ruptured world

Yesterday, Roger Roberts was one of many Liberal Democrat peers to take part in the Queen’s Speech debate. He’s sent us his speech on the treatment of refugees, an issue very close to his heart:

 In the wide-ranging speeches, we had one great disappointment, and I am sure the Minister involved will know exactly what I am referring to; there has been no commitment at all to receiving the 20,000 Syrian refugees as promised by David Cameron. It is not there in the Queen’s Speech. Nor is there a commitment to increase the number of unaccompanied child refugees. When you think that in Europe there are still about 88,000 of these children by themselves, we have met no commitment whatever in the Speech that we are discussing this afternoon. It has been a great disappointment in that direction.

We are probably going to get another immigration Bill; we get one every Session. I am not sure what we are going to do in a two-year Session: will we get two or just one and a half? We are going to get new legislation, and every time we do it makes it more difficult for those who are vulnerable and those who wish to escape from total austerity to come here. We can promote many amendments when that new Bill comes. We can ask why asylum seekers are still refused permission to work for the first 12 months of their time in the United Kingdom. Is there any reason whatever? I cannot see any. Why, also, do we have legislation that permits 18 year-olds to be deported? Those who are deported are largely those who have had no access to legal advice. The Government could, quite easily I think, make a commitment that everyone who approaches 18 years of age shall at least have the benefit of top-rate legal advice.

There is one other thing I would like to see in the new immigration Bill. Do you know how much people get every week when they are applying? It is £36.95, and this has not increased at all in the past five or six years. Anything that we can do to uprate that to the present cost of living would be very welcome.

I have come across a poem by Warsan Shire of Somalia that describes the circumstances, and I shall quote part of it:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 11 Comments

Introducing Lib Dem Immigrants

When I moved to the UK, I couldn’t see myself joining any party that wasn’t pro-immigrant – seeing as now, suddenly, I was one. Sadly there’s not a lot of competition there, but it helped make it clear that the Liberal Democrats were right for me. I’ve always been glad to share the party with people who share my conviction that immigration is a good in itself (when the best you’ll get from most other parties is that we have to hold our noses and accept it for the economic benefits) and, at least as importantly, that immigrants are fellow humans who deserve to be treated well.

Now I’m part of a new group seeking official recognition by the party, called Lib Dem Immigrants. The name has the potential to be ambiguous – people have already asked “can people who aren’t immigrants join?” (the answer is resoundingly yes) – but I think it’s worth it to center the focus of our group on immigrants as people rather than immigration as an abstract subject for debate.

The first piece I wrote for Lib Dem Voice was about how the UK immigration system had harmed my mental health, and in my experience that kind of anecdote – the immigrant, not immigration – is more effective than figures and economic arguments, true as those things may be, in convincing people that a liberal approach to immigration is best for us all.

If we as Lib Dems exist to promote and protect freedom from povery, ignorance and conformity, immigrants are suffering on all three counts. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 61 Comments

Joan Walmsley writes…Taxing patience and taxing patients

In order to “incentivise employers to think differently about their recruitment and skills decisions and the balance between investing in UK skills and overseas recruitment” (Lord Nash in the Lords on Tuesday) the government has decided to introduce an Immigration Skills Charge, a tax of £1000 per employee, per year, paid in advance by an employer wishing to recruit a skilled worker from outside the European Economic Area.

It does not apply to everyone, of course. Exceptions have been made for a variety of post-graduate scientists (including social and humanities scientists), research and development managers, and higher education teaching professionals.

Two groups that have not been exempted are professionals in health and social care. We know that both of these sectors are heavily dependent upon recruiting professionals from all over the world. We know only too well, from report after report, of the dire financial straits of the NHS: three quarters of NHS trusts are in deficit; nearly every A&E has limped from crisis to crisis this winter; we are short of nurses and retention is awful; hospital doctors’ rosters are unfilled; and GP practices can’t replace retiring doctors. The staff have become the shock-absorber for the NHS.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

What happened to the lamp beside the golden door?

The Telegraph reports:

Mr Trump signed an executive order closing US borders to all refugees for a period of at least four months and temporarily banning all travellers from half a dozen countries, regardless of whether they have already been issued visas…

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 9 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSean Hyland 18th Dec - 1:22am
    Never been a fan of Farage. Guessing that he will, as he has always done, be certain to look after number 1 - himself.
  • User AvatarSean Hyland 18th Dec - 1:17am
    Peter Watson the article makes the same point about cherry picking polls whatever side of the debate you are on and the need to look...
  • User AvatarRoland 18th Dec - 1:04am
    @Sheila Gee - "Farage has served this country very well, and deserves his pension and retirement." Firstly, Farage and UKIP have not served this country...
  • User AvatarMartin 18th Dec - 12:41am
    Matt: What was leaves vision for the UK outside the EU? Do tell, because if it ever existed, it seems to have been completely forgotten....
  • User AvatarMichael BG 18th Dec - 12:33am
    @ Joe Bourke I don’t understand why you object to exempting those owner occupiers who have an income lower than the poverty level. I hate...
  • User AvatarMalcolm Todd 18th Dec - 12:17am
    Should be "notice to *quit*", obviously.