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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!

What Assistance can the UK offer to Bangladesh & the Rohingya Refugees?

by John Brian Shannon

As of this writing, over 450,000 Rohingya muslims from Myanmar (also called Burma) have fled violence and their burned-out villages to land across the border in Bangladesh, and after all the appropriate hand-wringing by political leaders and the media it appears that not one bit of international assistance has been rendered to help the refugees, nor to help Bangladesh afford all the costs of hosting such huge refugee numbers.

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheik Hasina, is a wonderful lady and seems to want to help the Rohingya people.

But her idea is for diplomacy and negotiations to solve Burma’s domestic strife. And in a normal situation that’s the first step of a long process.

However, the Rohingya are a tiny minority in the country (2.2 million remain in Burma) and every day, tens of thousands race for their lives to the Bangladeshi border. By the time diplomacy and negotiations get rolling there won’t be a single Rohingya muslim left alive in the country — they’ll either have fled to Bangladesh or they’ll have been killed by Buddhists who don’t want them in Burma, period. Full stop.

Because the situation in Burma is so toxic, there is absolutely zero chance that any Rohingya that remains in Burma won’t be killed by Buddhist mobs or (purportedly) by the Burmese military. Therefore, my respectful advice to PM Sheik Hasina is to begin preparations TODAY, to house, feed, and employ, the remaining 2.2 million Rohingya that will surely arrive in the coming weeks.

The question is; What assistance have the UK, The Commonwealth, or the United Nations offered to Bangladesh where 450,000 people have shown up with only the clothes on their backs, and another 2.2 million following over the next few weeks? The silence is deafening.


On the Ground in Burma

Due to high levels of harassment, intimidation and conflict deaths in Myanmar (also called Burma) that is openly carried out by hostile Buddhists and (purportedly) by Burmese government troops, almost half a million Rohingya muslims have fled in recent days to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The refugees are arriving in southern Bangladesh tired, afraid, hungry and disoriented as they flee their burning villages. Sixty per cent of those are women and children.

In Burma 4.3 per cent of the country are Muslim (about 2.6 million in total) while 88 per cent (46 million) are Buddhist and 6 per cent are Christian.

What’s different for the Muslims in Burma is that due to arcane Burmese law, they aren’t allowed to own real estate (land or buildings) because they aren’t recognized as citizens due to the fact they can’t prove their ancestors lived there prior to 1823. The Rohingya are… human beings without a country.

In recent decades over 100,000 have fled to nearby countries to work or to ask for refugee status. Most of them didn’t qualify for Burmese citizenship in the first place — and therefore arrived in a totally new country with no birth certificate, passport, other reliable identification, or even a family address. Intolerable, doesn’t begin to describe it.

Which is why hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas have landed across the border in Bangladesh since August 25th. Up to 2.3 million more may arrive in the coming months if all Burmese muslims flee the country.

If the present situation is any indication, it looks like all of them will leave Burma.


Why Not Just Go Back?

Burmese Rohingyas have nothing to return to, only burned out villages and increasingly hostile citizens. And once having crossed over into Bangladesh, they can’t cross back into the country in which they were born because they have no legal identification to show to Burmese border guards other than a long-distance telephone calling card (if they’re lucky) and no family address recognized by Burmese authorities.

Myanmar laying landmines on Bangladesh border (Al Jazeera) (so the Rohingya can’t return)


Following Burma's fleeing Rohingya


Bangladesh: The Promised Land for the Rohingya

For decades, the Rohingya have been leaving Burma for Bangladesh and other southeast Asian nations, seeking employment and a chance at a new life.

In those places, if they can find employment they can eventually apply for citizenship and become an actual citizen, with an actual street address, and be a person with an actual job and a real life. If you’re a factory owner that hires a Rohingya, you know they are highly motivated to succeed and that they will be the least problematic of your workers.

However, even a successful economy like Bangladesh can’t accept millions of refugees in a matter of weeks. The country is doing relatively well for a developing nation and continues to improve its infrastructure and the lives of its citizens every year.

Bangladesh is ranked surprisingly highly by development agencies, and is often referred to ‘one of the next-11’ countries after the G20 countries.

An interesting note about Bangladesh is that they are the largest contributor in the world to UN peacekeeping missions — providing tough, fully trained troops for many UN operations. (The UN pays the wages of the Bangladesh soldiers while under its command and supplies many of the tanks and APC’s that Bangla soldiers use while on UN peacekeeping missions, which is a standard practice of the United Nations)


What Will it Take to Help the Rohingya?

  1. Plenty of international aid money
  2. Acceptance by Bangladesh citizens

In the southern region of Bangladesh, 450,000 Rohingya are being held in camps stretching along the border with Burma. While 60 per cent of the refugees are women and children, Bangladeshis worry about young Rohingya males who may have been exposed to extremist thought and could conceivably at least, act against Bangladesh citizens in the future. So far, nothing like that has been reported.

However, keeping hundreds of thousands of refugees in miserable and makeshift camps in hot and humid weather isn’t going to help anyone’s mood.

Even if the Rohingyas arrived there never having imagined a terrorist thought in their life, a year of living under those conditions won’t help to keep violent acts out of the minds of young men, who, like young men everywhere, are prone to acting on a perceived problem without properly thinking it through.

‘No words’ to describe Bangladesh camps, Red Cross says (abc.au)

Rohingya refugee camp, Bangladesh - August 2017. Image courtesy of Australian Broadcast Corporation

If Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina can convince UN donors to generously fund the effort, her country has a good chance of accommodating the sudden flood of refugees; Assisting them to find jobs, homes, and helping to build the strong sort of communities that are an asset to any country — but if it doesn’t happen in this manner, that region of Bangladesh is on the same path as the extremely hurtful (to all sides) Israeli/Palestinian conflict was at its very beginning. Nobody wants that.

Or do they? We’ll see what the response is after UN General Assembly meets this week in New York.


What Jobs Can the Rohingya Do?

If Bangladesh elects to help the Rohingya fleeing persecution in Burma, the best way forward is to employ them as farm labourers in the southern part of the country. Many of these people have lived in rustic conditions and it will take some time before they will be getting jobs as CEO’s, airline pilots, or automobile designers. But that’s not to say they can’t make a valuable contribution to the Bangladesh economy — they can!

Starting the Rohingyas working in the fields will allow them to acclimatize to the new country and cement their place as valuable workers in Bangla society.

The most important thing for the Bangladeshi authorities to remember after taking care of food, shelter and medicine for the new refugees is to provide a sense of community.

Just dumping these people on a hunk of land and feeding them every day isn’t going to solve anything, but the eventual result will be a social crisis on the scale of what we’re witnessing in the Philippines today.


What Kind of Housing for Working Rohingya Families?

Refugees that want to work should have access to temporary living quarters. You simply can’t get any sleep in a refugee camp (you know this if you’ve ever visited one!) and therefore, you won’t keep your job very long. Therefore, it’s important to relocate Rohingya workers to suitable accommodations for workers until they can save enough money to purchase their own dwelling.

There are thousands of used portable offices and portable crew quarters in the world available at any time. Not only that, but the UN could purchase thousands of new ATCO-type portable trailers to house Rohingya workers and ship them to southern Bangladesh.

In that way, the Rohingya that are able and willing to work will have appropriate accommodation. The benefit of these portable buildings is that they are prewired for electricity, and stoves and heat are provided by natural gas tanks located on the exterior of the unit.

One point to remember about this kind of living quarters is that they can be lifted via crane and placed on top of solid stilts — this is important in Bangladesh as many areas of the country are prone to flooding during the annual monsoon season. Many Bangla homes are placed on stilts to avoid being flooded or carried away in the floodwaters.

Portable ATCO trailers could house Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

It seems Shaikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh sincerely wants to assist the Rohingya refugees and that’s admirable.

However, it’s going to take a few billion dollars just to meet the needs of these desperate people until the end of the year. After that, rather than allowing the miserable conditions of the refugee camps to become the fuel for conflict, the Rohingya must be urged to find local work on the many farms in the region. It’s really the only option in this case.

Getting refugees employed is almost as important as sheltering and feeding them as they stream across the Bangladesh border.


Related Articles:

  • ‘The scale is just vast’: Authorities, aid workers in Bangladesh overwhelmed by Rohingya refugees (CBC)
  • Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina, Speech At UNGA United Nations | Sept 21, 2017 (YouTube)
  • Aung San Suu Kyi invites international help for Rakhine crisis
    (Frontier Myanmar)
  • Bangladesh restricts Rohingya refugees, starts immunization
    (National Post)
  • Rohingya Muslims are being wiped off Myanmar’s map
    (National Post)
  • Myanmar accused of crimes against humanity (CBC)
  • Myanmar’s front lines of horror (Globe and Mail)

Latest:

  • Indian Army strikes Naga insurgents along India-Myanmar border (LiveMint)

What should Britain’s post-Brexit Immigration policy look like?

by John Brian Shannon | February 27, 2017

One of the main drivers for the 17+ million Britons who voted to Brexit was that they felt overwhelmed by the large numbers of refugees and economic immigrants in the UK — all of which are additional to the outsized share of EU citizens who live, work and play in Britain.

Two things can’t be stressed enough when it comes to immigration policy; Immigration is always a good thing for an economy, and when immigration loads become too high social unrest occurs.

Therefore, immigration policy is a balancing-act for governments caught between economists and voters

Britain Infographic: Which countries host and send the most migrants? | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista

As per the chart above, Britain has invited a grand total of 8.5 million immigrants into the country (half of which are permanently unemployed) while 4.9 million Britons live and work in other countries.

Certainly the economic case for immigration for countries like Britain is recognized by economists who stress that immigration is a positive, as refugees and economic immigrants typically accept any job offered to them — even the low-paying jobs.

Which isn’t the case with those born in the UK who prefer higher status or higher paying jobs — with the notable exception of young Britons just entering the workforce, or young people working to pay for a university education, or older workers with limited skills.

Britain Infographic: Where Foreign-born Workers Are Employed in the UK | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista

Economists agree; Too much immigration can be detrimental

It can be a life-changing experience for a young person to get ‘beat-out’ on their first attempt at employment by 500 other applicants for that one available job in their hometown, it’s especially troubling for them to imagine (whether true or not) that if the government hadn’t allowed such high levels of immigration, that he or she would’ve otherwise gotten their first job, straightaway.

The seeds of anger, anti-immigration, and possibly of racism, are thereby set early in life.

Britain - Of the 31.5 million workers in the UK, about 10% are immigrants.

Or put another way — “10% of UK jobs are taken by immigrants instead of Britons who wanted those jobs.”

Another item of concern arises when large numbers of immigrants live in one neighbourhood due to the low rents found there, and a process of ghettoization can begin. These become areas of high crime, with certain elements within the group asserting control over their own ethnic or social group. This can be done using peer pressure, ultra-strict interpretations of religious code, by threats or intimidation, or by those working as supervisors at the local factory or farm who can ‘control’ via employee schedule modifications, how many hours per week each worker is allotted.

In early 20th-century America this was a full-blown industry among the Irish, Italians, and later, the Polish immigrants to the United States, which later morphed into each ethnic group having its own ‘mafioso’ to ‘police’ its own nationality.

Britain’s government must play close attention to hitting the sweet spot which occurs between keeping the economists happy (importing plenty of low-wage labour) and keeping the citizens happy, which surely can’t be an easy task.

Who Should Stay and Who Should Go?

Not only should Britain allow fewer immigrants post-Brexit than it does today, it must deter those who would move to the UK hoping to further their criminal career. (‘Richer’ pockets to pick in the UK than in their home country)

Britain can deter such opportunists by maintaining a high deportation rate (much higher than at present) for those convicted of crimes. For economic migrants and refugees, to be caught and convicted of any crime more serious than jaywalking should mean automatic deportation from the UK. (A fair trial on Friday, followed by a deportation on Monday)

A bright spot in all of this is that Britain is better than many countries at ‘weeding-out’ those that engage in crime, and it successfully deports them to their place of origin. Many other countries aren’t faring as well as Britain.

To do it right takes a lot of effort, plenty of police assets and time, and a robust ‘tipster’ system, where those living under duress feel they can safely and anonymously report abusers and other criminal behaviors in their communities to the government. Fortunately, the UK government seems to have a good, if not perfect handle on the deportation aspect of British immigration policy.

Britain tag | Infographic: Which EU Countries Deport The Most People? | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista

And, bonus! Pound for pound, deporting ‘problems’ is the most efficient way to lower the overall crime rate, to lower property damage and property insurance costs, and to lower policing and court costs. Not to mention slashing the astronomical costs of incarceration.


In the UK it is estimated that each new prison place costs £119,000 and that the *annual average cost per prisoner* exceeds £40,000.” — Kevin Marsh: The real cost of prison – The Guardian


Britain tag | Infographic: The EU's highest incarceration rates | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista

It’s always a noble thing to accept refugees into a country, and economic migrants can make a better life for themselves and simultaneously help the host economy to thrive — but each level of government must always pay close attention to the total number of migrants in the UK, in each particular county, and in each city and town.

Far too often only the total numbers across the entire country are examined, with practically zero attention paid to small cities, towns and rural counties. It’s important that each jurisdiction doesn’t end up with a total immigration load of more than 6.5% of that jurisdiction’s population.

Each county, town, or city must have the authority to limit the maximum number of refugees, economic migrants, and normal émigrés within their boundaries to 6.5% of that jurisdiction’s total population.

Immigrants as a percentage of the total population

Many political scientists argue for a minimum of 4.5% to an absolute maximum of 6.5% immigrants-to-natives mix. Ghettoization in the community, and a much higher crime rate in nearby communities, begins to occur at 6.5% of the total population along with other serious social ills.

According to the world’s best political scientists, Britain, with a total population of 65 million calls for a maximum of 4,225,000 migrants of all kinds (refugees + economic migrants + normal émigrés) — instead of the 8.5 million that were in the country in 2015. Almost certainly that number surpasses 9 million now, in February of 2017.

It’s all about Balance!

Overly generous Britain needs to act decisively to lower total immigration loads by half in the immediate post-Brexit timeframe — or Britons need to double their extremely low fertility rate (presently set at 1.88 births per woman) for about 20-years, which seems unlikely.

All the economic and social good that occurs via immigration for the United Kingdom, for the migrants themselves, and for international goodwill, will eventually become undone if Britain continues to carry twice as many migrants as is advised by the world’s expert political scientists and demographers.