Home » Posts tagged 'British Immigration Policy'

Tag Archives: British Immigration Policy

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.

The Problem with Immigration

by John Brian Shannon

Immigration policy continues to appear in British headlines and excessive annual immigration loads in the UK are cited by many citizens as one of the main reasons Britons voted to Brexit the European Union.

Immigration has been a factor in Britain going all the way back to Roman times, and without it the United Kingdom wouldn’t be the thriving country it is today.

As with so many things in life it’s all about balance. The other important factor in this discussion is the implementation of immigration policy.


Some Immigration Stats for You

Britain has a population of 66 million people and it received 650,000 economic migrants and refugees in 2016 alone. Yes, it’s like that every year. Of course, people in favour of higher immigration levels will always refer you to the net migration number, which was 335,000 in 2016.

Immigration to the UK for year ending June 2016. Image courtesy of the Office for National Statistics.

Immigration to Britain for year ending June 2016. UK Office for National Statistics.

Regardless of how you choose to calculate UK immigration, millions of Britons have a negative view on the topic and blame scarce jobs, higher infrastructure costs, longer wait times for government services and higher taxes on unprecedented immigration.

High numbers of migrants aside, the UK economy continues to grow and companies are making better profit due to the lower wages paid to immigrant workers.

No economist on the planet will dispute these two points; Higher immigration results in improved corporate profit and growing GDP.

Although it needs to be said that the economy can still grow with lower or even zero immigration when government economic policy is perfect and all the stars are aligned.

By now you’re concluding that high immigration loads are the lazy politicians way of improving the annual GDP statistic, increasing corporate profits, and (probably) increasing donations to their political party. Yes, every economist agrees with you.


Your Economic Status Determines Your Worldview

If increased profits for companies, higher GDP, and donations to your political party are all that matter to you — you’ve hit a home-run! as they say in America. Congrats to you.

Others disagree and cite quality of life issues — real life problems like increased unemployment among native Britons, longer wait times for government services, and the higher personal taxes that pay for the rapidly growing infrastructure required to sustain increased demand.

Your view no doubt, depends on which side of the unemployment line you’re standing on and your tolerance for higher taxes.

It’s easy to see where all this is heading in a decade or two; Those who view immigration negatively will join new, right-wing, anti-immigrant parties similar in concept to Germany’s nationalist AfD party, while big business and (some) politicians will morph towards Trump-style politics — resulting in a quantum shift to the right of the political spectrum among a majority of voters (but very important to note here) that shift will split between many factions.

And isn’t that exactly what has recently happened in Germany, Hungary, Austria, Poland and America?


Is Multiculturalism a Failure, or is Implementation to Blame?

It’s interesting to note that Canada has maintained a multicultural policy since the late 1960’s and that it’s been an astonishing success story with few Canadian detractors.

Led by former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, multiculturalism was sold to Canadians as a silver bullet to;

1) fix a falling Canadian birthrate,
2) to increase aggregate demand in the economy,
3) to attract the highly skilled workers that Canada desperately needed,
4) to access the low wage workers to do the jobs Canadians no longer wanted.

It was also touted to diversify the social fabric of the country and work to subsume the extremely stark (and sometimes hostile) divide between Francophones and Anglophones in eastern Canada.

The level of skepticism was high, but because multiculturalism in Canada was properly and thoroughly sold to Canadians and because it really did accomplish all that Pierre Trudeau said it would, multiculturalism succeeded across the country.

  • NOTE: Canada’s population of 36 million is augmented by 300,000 new arrivals annually, while Britain’s population of 66 million is augmented by 650,000 new arrivals per year. (Remember, these are gross total immigration numbers that have little in common with *net* migration numbers)

In recent months, Statistics Canada has reported the number of visible minorities (people from other countries and their Canadian-born offspring) living in Canada now outnumber Caucasian citizens of European descent. And nobody cares.

In Canada, the colour of your skin, your choice of religion, or your cultural bias, simply don’t matter. If you’re there to work, raise a family, and agree to abide by Canadian laws, Canadians are happy to have you along for the ride.

And in Canada émigrés tend to do what is expected of them because everything about becoming a ‘landed-immigrant’ and (after a significant probationary period) a Canadian citizen, is explained to them prior to their acceptance by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Unlike in Britain, migrants to Canada are walked through the process every step of the way and because of that, they are far more likely to understand Canadian values and Canadian culture, and are therefore more likely to assimilate well and become part of the Canadian mosaic.

The importance of informing future British citizens about what is allowed and what is expected of them cannot be underestimated — and the same importance must be attached to informing today’s British citizens how to work with new arrivals. It’s everything in this discussion.

In Canada, the federal government wanted multiculturalism to work and that’s why it worked. Full stop.


Where Do We Go From Here?

It’s taken decades for the UK to get to this point and every party represented in the House of Commons has been a part of the process. Playing the blame game is a waste of time, so let’s just focus on what’s to be done from here.

There is little Britain can do about the 9 million foreign-born residents already in the country. Of course, the argument could be made that they could all be deported to their countries of origin, but that isn’t a realistic solution to a perceived problem; “perceived” because less than half of Britons report being concerned about the number of immigrants in the country.

In 2016, the total number of foreign-born residents in the UK surpassed 9 million.

In 2016, the total number of foreign-born residents in the UK surpassed 9 million. UK Office for National Statistics.

‘Scofflaws Not Welcome’

Some have made the case that UK expats convicted of any crime more serious than a parking ticket should be deported to their country of origin, forthwith. There are plenty of people already breaking laws in the United Kingdom, the country shouldn’t be importing more of them!

And at an annual cost of £110,000 per year/per prisoner to incarcerate lawbreakers, Britain could save itself millions of pounds sterling annually for the cost of a few hundred airline tickets. Doing so would set a precedent, the kind of precedent that gets noticed for all the right reasons, and work to a) convince certain types to not relocate to the UK in the first place, or b) convince those already in the UK and considering committing crimes to choose an alternate lifestyle — either way, it’s a win-win for Britain.

Foreign Resident Tax

Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated that foreigners living in the UK will be paying an annual fee to help pay a tiny portion of the infrastructure, services, and security costs on a per capita basis — likely around £100 per year, per expat. The PM in a recent PMQ period mentioned the fee would be “about the cost of a passport” but would be due on an annual basis.

Post-Brexit Immigration Policy

One great thing about Brexit is the government will be able to choose its own immigration policy.

Britain should cap total immigration at 200,000 per year, but it should favour highly skilled individuals from the Commonwealth and America who should be moved to the front of the line.

If there are any additional spaces to fill, then and only then should Britain consider allowing people from other countries to migrate to the United Kingdom.

Better Multiculturalism Guidance for both Immigrants and Citizens Going Forward

Proper guidance to help prospective immigrants choose whether Britain really is the country for them, whether they are willing to live by the laws and (Western) culture of Britain, and guidance on how to integrate into British society would smooth the path for migrants and citizens alike.

It’s not only new arrivals that need guidance. A bit of knowledge, understanding and sensitivity can go a long way to keep small irritations small, rather than to have them burst into the media spotlight in a way that makes all sides look mean-spirited, uncultured and uneducated.

Canada has a verifiable track record of success in helping both their new arrivals and their citizens to get along together and keep them focused on working for the good of the country and its goals.

If the Home Office hired one experienced Canadian multiculturalism / immigration officer per UK immigration office location (as an advisor) it could make the difference between a successful immigration policy and a failed immigration policy.

And that Canadian multicultural officer should assist in cases involving both new arrivals to the UK and long-time expats with unresolved issues.


Summary

Brexit affords the United Kingdom the opportunity to start with a clean sheet and design any immigration policy it chooses.

Incorporating some Canadian success seems appropriate, as does deporting criminal expats within a fortnight.

And an expat tax reminds expats it’s their privilege not their divine right to live in the United Kingdom — although if they’re contributing to the good of the country about as well as anyone else, the UK government and its people should be respectful of their commitment.


Related Articles:

  • Canadians in the Dark About Immigration: Survey (Ottawa Citizen)
  • Canadians Increasingly Comfortable with Diversity: Survey (Ottawa Citizen)
  • CBC’s The National – report on the Changing Face of Canada (CBC TV News)
  • Canada immigration explained: Answers to 9 common questions (CBC TV News)

Why it’s Time to Lower Immigration from non-Commonwealth Nations

by John Brian Shannon

Well, ‘Brexit is Brexit’ as they say, and it looks like it’s going to take a while to finalize details between the UK and the EU. But no need to panic. Brexit will happen and the two sides will be legally divorced within 12-months.

It might turn out to be a good agreement, it might turn out to be a bad agreement, or negotiations might go so awry that the UK leaves without any agreement; In which case WTO rules would automatically apply until superceded by bilateral agreement.

Which wouldn’t be too bad actually, because with no time constraints to worry about post-Brexit, and with no concern about loss of face for politicians (on account of missing the Brexit deadline) powerful industries on both sides of the English Channel could then push their respective governments to create a number of à la carte bilateral agreements pursuant to their sector. Secondary and tertiary industries would then follow the lead of the powerful primary industries.

Eventually, every CEO would be heard by their respective government, and elected representatives on both sides would be compelled by their own political self-interest to present their case to the other side — a very pure way of streamlining trade between Europe’s (by then) newly divorced economies.

Whichever way it goes, in approximately 12-months Britain will be alone in the world save for its Commonwealth partners which it hasn’t cherished enough over the past 86-years, but it’s not to late to change that.

In fact, now is the time for the UK to take huge strides forward with its Commonwealth partners and begin to deliberately favour them over non-Commonwealth nations, especially in regards to trade and immigration.

“The latest net migration statistics show that in the year ending December 2016, net migration to the UK was 248,000.” — Migration Watch UK

The majority of immigrants to the UK since 1999 came from eastern Europe and the benefit for British employers is that these workers accept low-paying jobs and (although it is unethical and in some cases illegal; regardless, it still happens) that a farm or factory could replace all UK-born workers and on the next week hire immigrants who work for far lower wages. This can save companies significant amounts of money especially in the case where the UK-born employees have years of seniority and full benefit plans.

(Want to save 25% on your annual labour expenditure? Fire everyone below the level of General Manager and fill those positions with immigrant workers. Sure, it may be hairy for a while until the newcomers learn their jobs, but think of the money you’ll save! Even with having to pay significant severance pay to UK-born workers that have seniority, and maybe a bit of ‘hush money’ — over time the company will show better profits. If you think this hasn’t been done, you’re naive in the extreme. Whether it’s legal or not, whether it’s ethical or not, or whether it’s the ‘right thing’ for Britons to do to their own countrymen and countrywomen is a completely different matter)

In the end it hurts the UK economy, although it helps UK businesses to earn higher profit, but much of the money earned by the immigrants is sent to their families in eastern Europe or wherever they migrated from.

The name for these kinds of transactions is ‘foreign remittances’ and billions of pounds sterling leave the UK economy for foreign nations every year. That money is gone and is never returning.

The amount of wealth leaving the UK every year via foreign remittances is astonishing and may total as much as £20 billion annually (or more) and as the accounting is imprecise it’s almost always found (years later) that the estimates were extremely low.

The UK is one of the Top-Ten foreign remitting countries in the world

UK - Remittance flows from Britain 2015 - Pew Research
Although foreign remittances are only estimates, at least $24,878,000,000 in remittances were sent from the UK to other countries in 2015. Image courtesy of Pew Research.

In some countries with heavy remittances from the UK, the amounts are so large that certain developing nations receive up to 6% of their GDP via foreign remittances, and the UK is one of the top-ten foreign remitting countries in the world.

Think how much money Britain’s governments (Labour and Conservative) have allowed to leave the UK via foreign remittances over the past quarter century…


Wouldn’t it be smarter to lower immigration from non-Commonwealth nations?

Why, yes it would. It would be much smarter.

Commonwealth nations have historic links with Britain and it looks better when former colonies (and new Commonwealth members that were never colonies of Britain) are faring well thanks to British largesse.

Following is a short list of UK benefits if immigration from non-Commonwealth nations is replaced by Commonwealth nation immigrants:

  • Tens of billions of pounds sterling will no longer leave Britain annually to be used by non-Commonwealth countries
  • Foreign remittances from the UK would go to Commonwealth nations instead of non-Commonwealth nations
  • Commonwealth nations might choose to source more military equipment, machinery, etc. from the UK
  • Commonwealth nations with boosted foreign remittances are more likely to stay within the Commonwealth
  • Immigrants to the UK from Commonwealth nations are more likely to understand the British worldview
  • Commonwealth immigrants are more likely to integrate well into British society
  • Commonwealth nation citizens will have a better opinion of the UK and of Britons
  • Commonwealth nation economies will see a corresponding economic benefit
  • UK GDP would increase, as would GDP in the other Commonwealth nations
  • Commonwealth nations would become politically strengthened
  • Commonwealth links between businesses are likely to increase
  • Links between Commonwealth citizens are certain to increase

And that’s just the short list.

Yes, billions of pounds sterling will still leave the UK but at least it will be going to Commonwealth member nations that have a similar worldview to Britons and are nations that are more likely to support British policies instead of opposing them.

If the money is going to leave anyway, the smart money would arrange to keep it ‘in the family’ with countries that don’t have adversarial relations with the UK.


Why should the UK be adding to the GDP of non-Commonwealth nations, when it could be adding to Commonwealth nations GDP?

The UK is a member of that august organization and membership itself implies that each member should favour other members.

Commonwealth governments, big business and consumers should always try to shop at Commonwealth businesses first, before trying anywhere else. If something can’t be found for sale in your own nation, then try to purchase it in another Commonwealth nation. If it can’t be found at all, then maybe it’s time for another Commonwealth member nation businesses to pool their resources and build/sell that product.

The UK should cut immigration from non-Commonwealth nations and simultaneously make it one order of magnitude easier for Commonwealth nation citizens to immigrate to Britain.

While the total immigration levels might stay the same, the definite bias should move quickly towards Commonwealth nations and NAFTA countries.

Commonwealth citizens should have UK visas fast-tracked after Brexit, MPs argue (The Telegraph)

Up to 200,000 immigration applications from Commonwealth and NAFTA nations should be accepted each year via a simple online form, a successful criminal records background check, and payment of an immigration fee of £100 per year.


One for all, and all for one!

Instead of strengthening people and nations that have no interest for or against the UK, Britain should quickly move to support Commonwealth members and NAFTA countries.

In this way, countries that are pulling for the Britain’s success will be rewarded by Britain — and vice versa.

The UK should respectfully request NAFTA associate membership the moment Britain formally leaves the EU. And within 5-years, all other Commonwealth nations should make the same request of NAFTA.

That’s how you Build a Better Britain, Build a Better Commonwealth and Build a Better NAFTA!