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Immigration in the Post-Brexit World

by John Brian Shannon

The days of a foreign power deciding how many people can live in the UK are rapidly closing. On any date past March 29, 2019 the UK government could decide to radically alter the future of Great Britain. And that’s a very good thing.


The Days of Unrestricted Immigration to the UK Are Soon Over

Until now, the UK has been forced to accept both new residents and transients who easily pass through the EU’s porous border control system called the Schengen Area (visit here to see a list of Schengen countries) where anyone from anywhere can simply walk across the border and are rarely challenged or identified by authorities.

Which is one thing if your country is on the outer rim of the Schengen Area and those undocumented people are walking through your country to get to another country; It’s quite another if your country is their destination.


8-Million Immigrants Later; UK Police & Security Services Know Surprisingly Little About Who Those Immigrants Are

And that’s the reason the UK has 8-million (mostly unknown) refugees and economic migrants. It’s a wonder there hasn’t been 10-times as many terrorist acts! A million thanks to the overworked police and to the security services who surely have more pressing matters to attend to, for keeping 99.999% of Britons safe from harm.


The Hidden Cost of Unregulated Immigration

Regardless, there is still a cost to all this additional policing and security work — whether that cost is under-serving other police and security files, or devoting more of their police and security service budgets to identifying and tracking imported (potential) problem people.

Yet the majority of refugees and economic migrants are decent people who want nothing more than to find a better life (in our UK that our forefathers built and fought for) and are prepared to work hard to accomplish that goal. But many aren’t.

And we don’t know who is who in that opaque world and we may never know as few have been vetted to a standard where we even know their names, their criminal background (if any) and other important information about them like their level of education, history of exposure to communicable diseases, extreme religious views, etc.


Getting Selective with UK Immigration

Once the UK regains control of its borders, the country can be very selective of who it allows into the country, but if a person lacks important inoculations like Chickenpox (varicella), Diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Hepatitis B, Influenza, Measles, Meningococcal meningitis, Mumps, etc., (it’s a much longer list than that, FYI) those inoculations could be administered at any UK port of entry to protect that person and simultaneously protect all Britons from some nasty foreign diseases.

It’s far less costly in lives and in pounds sterling to provide those inoculations in advance than to allow the next contagious virus to infect 100,000 people because someone didn’t get £40 worth of vaccine at the border.

Each UK port of entry should have enough Doctors and Nurses to administer such vaccines to Britons at no cost (as infected people may unknowingly carry viruses into the UK population when returning from countries where the Zika Virus etc., are prevalent) and for the very same reasons, such injections should be free (and required) to refugees and economic migrants at every UK port of entry.


Proper Police Screening post-Brexit

With proper vetting procedures in place, the UK will never again import another terrorist or criminal entity if every refugee and economic migrant is required to produce a paper copy of a criminal records check from their country of origin as they enter the UK.

To speed throughput times at UK ports of entry, the Border Force should create a secure section on their website to accept digital copies of such documents to be submitted in advance of travel to the UK.

Such documentation should be viewed online by Border Force officers prior to each plane landing or each ship docking at any UK port of entry — then that person can hand the official paper copy to the border guard as they pass through the border control turnstiles.


Choosing the ‘Right’ Immigrants

In some years, the UK may find it has a shortage of History professors, while other years it may have a shortage of farm labourers (for two examples) but when the UK government regains control of immigration it can decide in advance how many of each to let into the country.

In other years it may be the case that the UK requires more engineers, General Physicians or construction workers; But when you’re in full control of your immigration you can allow exactly the number of people into the country every year that you need. And none that you don’t.


Seasonal Foreign Workers Should be Pre-approved by the Border Force and Should Always Originate From Commonwealth Nations

Which is why the UK government should create a special category for seasonal farm workers so they can be efficiently notified by the Border Force website as soon as they are required for the season. (‘It’s time to pack your bags for your flight to Britain!’)

Such seasonal workers should be required to pay an annual £100 application fee and provide a digital copy of their criminal records check to the Border Force in advance via a secure website set up for that purpose.

If they don’t get hired, their deposit would be returned to them at the end of the year. If they are hired by their UK employer permanently, they would pay £100 per year thenceforth.

Once the Border Force has been notified by the relevant UK government department to allow (for example) 58,750 pre-approved seasonal workers into the country, they can easily accomplish this task by consulting the Commonwealth master list.

Large farm operators may decide to pay the £100 application fee on behalf of each person they hire from abroad and may also assist them in other ways such as picking them up at the airport and transporting them directly to their accommodations on the farm, etc.

This sort of ‘sponsor’ relationship between workers and their UK employers should be strongly encouraged by the government as it will dramatically minimize false applicants — those who never report to the farm and then go on to (unknown) activities in the UK.


All Other Foreign Workers Should be Pre-approved by the Border Force and Should Always Originate from The Commonwealth and the U.S.A.

To assist the UK economy during periods of peak manufacturing, or when the service sector requires more workers than are available in the UK, Britain’s businesses could draw from a pre-approved Border Force list of up to 1-million potential workers.

Pre-approved in this case means that such persons have proved their interest in working in the UK by prepaying their £100 annual fee to the Border Force, and have provided a recent copy of their criminal records check to the secure area within the Border Force website.

If they don’t get hired, their deposit would be returned to them at the end of the year. If they are hired by their UK employer permanently, they would pay £100 per year thenceforth.

Note to busy employers: It doesn’t mean they’ll automatically be appropriate to the particular job you want them to do or that the Border Force has their CV digitally stored on the Border Force website — but it will mean they aren’t a criminal or a terrorist and that they’ve taken the right steps to ensure they’re on the pre-approved list to work in Britain.

As soon as your telephone or Skype interviews are concluded, your new employee could be on the job in one day as all government paperwork would already be done months or weeks prior to your call.

Once supersonic airline flights resume between London and New York, your new employee from America can arrive before noon on the same day you approve them, and your HR department can give them the full orientation of your London office building that afternoon so they know where to park their rental car the next morning.

The UK would be the first country in the world to utilise such ‘Just In Time Labour’ in the same way the manufacturing sector has used ‘Just In Time Delivery’ to such good effect since 1990.


The Only (New) Immigrants to the UK would be Pre-approved by the Border Force and by Employers

Now How do You Feel About Immigration?

Isn’t that a better solution than having millions of undocumented people streaming into the UK sans job offers, proper inoculations, criminal records checks, and without any purpose in life other than to escape the problems in their own country?

Even if the number of annual immigrants to the UK were to increase post-Brexit (it won’t) the total number will be less relevant overall — as every one of them will be pre-approved and invited into the country by their employers — rather than millions of them just showing up and expecting the same benefits that British taxpayers are entitled to via their decades of annual tax payments.

After March 29th 2019, the UK will have entered the 21st-century where people will apply to reside in the UK and their ability to work in the country will be based on their merits rather than on their ability to run across a border.

In the future, immigrants will be perceived to be a welcome addition to the UK instead of being perceived as a potential security threat.

Which will result in a fundamental change in how Britons feel about immigrants in a general sense, and how they feel about their foreign co-workers and neighbours.

Welcome to the 21st-century!

Full Citizenship for the Windrush Generation: What’s the Delay?

by John Brian Shannon

In 1948 during a time of labour shortages in the immediate postwar era, 492 Jamaican citizens (many of them children travelling with their parents) were permitted to board the Royal Navy troop ship HMT Empire Windrush to travel to Britain for the purpose of employment and residency.

At the time, they were promised eventual citizenship if they chose to stay in Britain and contribute to British society, or they could work for a time and return to their home country with some cash in their pocket. Their choice.

Since 1948, hundreds of thousands of ‘Afro-Caribbean’ people travelled to Britain to work and to live, contributing much to the country it must be said.

Many found work in the Royal Navy, in the National Health Service (NHS) and in other sectors of the economy during a time of unprecedented GDP growth and record low unemployment.


The 1971 Immigration Act

In 1971, a new law was passed by the UK House of Commons that limited the ability of people from Commonwealth countries to live and work in the United Kingdom — therefore, those people who’ve relocated to the UK since 1971 have done so under very specific legal terms and conditions and are not considered part of the Windrush Generation.

The 1971 Immigration Act stipulated that those from Commonwealth countries already living in the United Kingdom were granted the right to continue living in the UK indefinitely, but henceforth, new immigrants from the Commonwealth were required to have 1) a work permit and 2) prove that a parent or grandparent had been born in the UK. — BBC News

Anyway, back to those who moved from Commonwealth countries to Britain during the 1948-1971 timeframe.

After contributing greatly to Britain in the postwar era and raising their British-born children and grandchildren in the UK and all of it done on the strength of a verbal promise by Britain’s government, some of them are having problems accessing government services, others have been threatened with deportation, (and yes, hard to believe) some have been incarcerated until their case was eventually adjudicated by faceless bureaucrats in the Home Office whose final decisions weren’t open to appeal.

Most of the Windrush Generation weren’t given any kind of documentation to prove their status in Britain in 1948-1971 and it seems that the Home Office won’t let them stay unless they can produce documentation to prove they’re legally in the country! Facepalm!

It almost seems like a spoof episode entitled, The Three Stooges: Bureaucrats on Acid.


How to Fix This Debacle?

Obviously, these people possess a birth certificate from their home country or they can access a copy of their birth certificate from their country of origin — and if they were born in a Commonwealth country and emigrated to Britain between 1948 and 1971 they should automatically qualify for British citizenship, have the same rights as any other British citizen, and be able to access the same government services as any British citizen.

Further, some might be owed an apology from the government for delays, arbitrary or wholly unfair Home Office decisions — and financial compensation should be paid in cases where disrespect or outright racism was displayed by Home Office employees.

Windrush people who have been seriously inconvenienced by Home Office staff (either deported or incarcerated for not being able to produce the paperwork that had never been issued by the Home Office in the first place) should expect to receive a payment from the government in the most egregious cases. But there needs to be a maximum cap on the amount paid per individual of £50,000 and the individual would need to sign documentation waiving any right to civil litigation on such matters against the Home Office or other departments of the government.


Children of Windrush

Any children born in Britain to the Windrush Generation are already British citizens, but if born outside the UK (obviously) are citizens of the country in which they were born — although their naturalized UK parents should be able to easily apply for them to become UK citizens at any future date.


Non-Windrush Generation Immigrants

Any non-UK citizen who wishes to live, work, go to school, or retire in the UK should be required to supply an up-to-date criminal records check from their home country with their initial application and pay £100 per year for the privilege of living in the UK, and supply their up-to-date phone number and home address to the Home Office via an easy-to-understand and easy-to-pay website that should take each individual less than 10-minutes per year to complete.

Windrush Generation people and their UK-born or UK-naturalized children would, of course, be completely exempt from such requirements and should henceforth be treated the same as any other British citizen.

Thank you again to the Windrush Generation for their work in building the United Kingdom that we see today. Well done!

Streamlining Towards Brexit

by John Brian Shannon

Time is running down on the Brexit clock (399 days and counting!) and the default path seems the only way that will allow a smooth and orderly Brexit in any sort of timeframe that could be construed as reasonable to British voters.

If the UK government chooses to simply photocopy existing EU trade regulations and then change those laws incrementally over a period of years, the UK should rightly expect to be invited by the European Union to continue their mutually beneficial trade relationship.

After all, how could the EU possibly be upset that the UK will voluntarily continue to follow European Union trade regulations in the pre-Brexit period?

However, this implies that until Brexit actually occurs, the UK will be obligated to consult with the EU on every incremental change made on those photocopied laws and regulations from now until the UK officially leaves the European Union on March 29, 2019. It’s not about polite diplomatic behavior, it’s about pragmatic self-interest.

The UK must begin today to re-prove that it intends — in all cases — to be a fair and reliable trading partner with the EU, and other countries are sure to be watching as this process unfolds. No amount of effort can be spared in this regard, because as so goes the UK trading relationship with the EU, so it will go between Britain and every other country in the world, after Brexit.


Trade After Brexit

Once March 29, 2019 has passed and the UK has officially left the European Union there will be no longer be any requirement for lengthy consultations with the EU on changes to British trade laws or regulations far in advance of them coming into effect.

That doesn’t mean that the UK shouldn’t continue to consult with the EU, it means that it doesn’t need to consult with the EU during the entire policy formation period. But once UK policy has been decided, the EU should continue to be the first to know about pending changes due to the bloc’s importance to the British economy.

As above, no effort should be spared in showing the EU every possible courtesy on even the most incremental of trade policy adjustments under consideration in the pre-Brexit timeframe.

And in the post-Brexit timeframe, a high level of communication and consultation must continue to define the relationship between the two sides.


Customs Law After Brexit

Unlike trade, the present customs union will end the day after Brexit which will be a very positive thing for the UK. After Brexit, the UK alone will be fully in charge of who can and can’t enter the country, and it should mount a Herculean effort now to identify and locate every single foreigner in the country, matching them to their home and workplace (or school) address.

Every non-British born resident in the country should be required to pay 100 pounds sterling per year, and also be required to provide their updated home and work/school address as often as it changes, no matter which country they originally hailed from. It’s the 21st century(!) all of this can be done on a UK.gov webform in less than 10 minutes per year.

Especially for those foreigners living in the United Kingdom anytime prior to Brexit day, the UK government should make the entire process as streamlined as possible.


Commonwealth Nations in the post-Brexit Timeframe

As the UK returns to its Commonwealth roots, immigration to the UK should thenceforth be sourced from Commonwealth nations.

Of course, there will always be a number of immigrants from the EU, America, and other countries. But as much as possible, the focus should be on the ‘all for one and one for all’ approach of Commonwealth nations — and one great way to keep that viable is by sourcing 2/3rds of the UK’s immigration requirements from the Commonwealth.


In addition, the UK should continue to spend .7 per cent of GDP on foreign aid — but spend it in Commonwealth nations exclusively.

This means that the British government must find other nations to take over its existing foreign aid commitments in non-Commonwealth nations so that Britain can concentrate on building a better Commonwealth.

Done right, every pound sterling spent in Commonwealth foreign aid should return a minimum of two pounds sterling to the UK, as a rising tide in a finite environment like the Commonwealth will lift all boats, which is quite unlike spending that same amount of foreign aid in the wider world.

One example of how Britain could benefit in the post-Brexit timeframe with a policy that favours Commonwealth nations is that UK universities, colleges and trade schools should see a vast increase in enrollment from the 2 billion citizens of Commonwealth nations.


Time is Tight

Although Brexit once seemed far-off, time is getting a little tight. Much needs to be accomplished in the remaining 399 days until Brexit.

The best way to do that is to harmonize UK trade law with EU trade law and then make incremental changes over time. That’s how not to lose.

How to win is to engage with Commonwealth nations as never before in ways that work to benefit both the United Kingdom and every Commonwealth member nation.

Keeping our EU friendships healthy on the one hand while updating our Commonwealth friendships for the 21st century on the other hand, is irrevocably in Britain’s best interests, thereby creating a new paradigm that will allow the UK to work to its strengths over the next 100 years.