In February 2019 the Bow Group highlighted Government proposals for the new Immigration Bill would lead to the biggest immigration amnesty in UK history, and would continue to endorse open door immigration. On review of the Home Office 19th February 2020 statement on its new points based system it is clear nothing has changed.
There are serious flaws in the government’s proposed “points based system” as to its ability to reduce immigration, as follows:
The cap on immigration has been removed. "We will suspend the cap on the number of people who can come on the skilled worker route and remove the resident labour market test. These changes will ensure that a wide pool of skilled workers will be able to come to the UK from anywhere in the world".
It is not truly points based. The Bill contains a string of evidence free exemptions and sponsorship from an employer which creates a legal nightmare regarding right to residency and labour market mobility, which is what a skills based immigration policy is meant to boost. There is nothing to suggest a “relevant PhD” will help in a specific job unless it is a formal post-doctorate role at a university.
It is not truly needs based. Employers will not be audited to prove they have advertised first in the UK for jobs nor the composition of their existing workforce to identify bad habits of overreliance on immigration, especially from a single country. The “appropriate level of skill” has no credible test in place and there is no way to assess current and future need through the immigration system.
3.2 million EU migrants have settled and will have unrestricted access to the labour market including in work benefits. Work related benefits will apply to all immigrants post 2021 who have indefinite leave to remain even without citizenship. The UK has opened up EUSS for the the transition period, which allows for a pre-terminal rush of migrants to beat the clock.
The Government has created a situation with its instructions to civil servants, Brexit Withdrawal Bill, & Immigration Bill, that would grant a migration amnestytoup to 500,000 EU students & their families.
Unlimited chain migration is written into the Bill. There is no points based test for dependents of any sort, despite it being routine practice to mortgage brokers to check this against mortgage applications.
The government is lowering the immigration wage threshold from £30,000 pa to £25,600 pa. There is no credibility in the argument someone on £25.6kpa with a spouse not working and four children in local education and in receipt of benefits will make a net positive contribution to the UK economy.
There is no acknowledgement of cultural impact and concerns over immigration, which is a driving force behind public concern over historic UK mass immigration. Regardless of any economic benefit, real or imagined, the public have clearly and repeatedly stated they want immigration to come down. Allowing businesses to calibrate the level of migration without public oversight is a clear betrayal of public concern and will.
This is a very unsatisfactory Bill that will not reduce immigration, and will likely increase it. It has used a veneer of salary orientated points to ignore the massive impacts immigration has on our schools, healthcare, transport density, congestion and housing demand and returned to the argument that immigration is only an economic matter, which is completely at odds with public opinion.
People voted to leave the EU to control their borders, control their fishing waters and make our own laws. We are on course to do none of these at present. It is clear the government intends to continue to underinvest in skills training and maintain open door immigration from Europe.
It rests solely on the will and whim of civil servants in Whitehall to define which skills are necessary and appropriate then hands over our labour market to employers without public controls. The Bill proposes to privatise our borders, our immigration policy and our society.
The Bow Group calls on the government to:
Maintain the pledge to cap migration at a maximum of 99,000, with a view to reducing numbers gradually to 30,000 over a 10 year period.
Use gross rather than net figures when tracking migration, to ensure the British public are aware of the number of people entering the country to live and work.
Clarify that they will not be granting the largest migration amnesty in British history to EU students & their families.
Retain the £30,000 pa wage threshold for migrants.
A points based system grounded in reality that considers whole of household VISA applications.
Proof of inability to recruit locally by employers to improve skills training and overreliance on overseas recruitment.
Removal of in work benefits for migrant workers.
Right of refusal by elected local authorities of applications when impact assessments of immigration of public services, congestion and social cohesion have been considered.
Points 3-5 are consistent with and inspired by Parts 3 to 7 of the Isle of Man Immigration Act 1971 ( amended by Immigration (Isle of Man) Order 2008 (SI 2008 no. 680), a British government that has always been outside the European Union that has achieved social cohesion, consistently high levels of economic growth and has minimised the impact of migration on public services.
"This government was elected by the conservative majoirty of this country to deliver on their electoral priorities, with one of the major ones being controlling and reducing immigration.
There is nothing in the government's proposed immigration bill that is likely to reduce immigration, and much that is likely to see it rise.
The Conservative Party have promised to reduce immigration for a decade, that same decade has seen record levels of immigration into Britain. This latest bill softens even the laws that haven't been strong enough for the past 10 years, removing the 99,000 target and reducing the wage threshold.
82% of new British citizens are either foreign born or born to a foreign parent, the reality of the immigration debate is not about economics, but culture and nationhood. Britain, or any other country, has never experienced levels of migration like that which have occurred in the 21st century, in the decades that follow the result must be a country that is totally unrecognisable to the current citizenry.
We urge the government to place nationhood, not economics, at the centre of the immigration debate, and finally take the action the British public demand."
Ben Harris-Quinney, Chairman, The Bow Group
"With this bill the liberal corporatist wing of the Tory party has come to the fore. Those who for years denied any negative impacts of migration on social cohesion, housing and social services have now handed over Britain's migration policy and the future makeup of its society to corporate interests. The British citizen is simply an economic asset with a political handicap in that they can vote. There is nothing to stop chain migration. There is nothing to stop 500,000 job offers granted to non-EU nationals in Year 1 with spouses that do not work and with 2 or 3 children.
If the UK government saw it healthy for the economy those 500,000 visas could translate into 2m new people entering the UK. If this seems extremely high then why remove the cap on migration at all? In 20 years the UK has seen migration of a millennium, with more arriving since the year 2000 than all the years before combined. Wage compression and property price inflation will continue to erode the living standards of those who voted for this government. They certainly did not vote for this.
Better we import now, word for word, the labour laws of the Isle of Man and Channel Islands who have successfully grown their economies, protected their own British societies, and achieved a level of social cohesion that for many British cities can only dream of, or remember. Every local authority has the right to approve or decline work permits based on trading impacts of mass migration against the benefits, and it should be so in the rest of the UK."
Dr Jon Stanley, Senior Research Fellow, The Bow Group
Immigration Key Points: