Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Immigration Shambles

So our clueless "government" has suddenly found another 300,000 economic migrants working in Britain. The news broke while the Immigration Minister, the brainy but lightweight Liam Byrne, was being interviewed on C4 News. He was giggling his way dismissively through Dave Cameron's long overdue pledge to cut immigration substantially, and he was completely blind-sided.

Did he not know about this latest numbers cock-up? Had the hopeless Hain at DWP forgotten to tell him new and wildly revised figures were being released? Or is he really that uninformed and unconvincing in real life? Either way, it's well worth preserving the vid for posterity.

The latest story is that an additional 1.1 million migrants have come to work here since Labour came to power. Which means that 40% of Labour's much vaunted 2.7m new jobs have gone to new immigrants.

We blogged the immigration numbers issue here. Once you delve into it, it's painfully clear the government has lost control, with an astonishing 2.2 million non-Brits arriving since 1997. And those are just the ones the government happens to have recorded.

What's more, 1.5m of them - two-thirds - were non-EU. So the tired argument Byrne wheels out in the interview about how we can't control inflows because of EU obligations is completely false. Again, does he know and is simply lying to us, or is he really that clueless? A difficult call.

And remember, all this migration has done nothing to raise GDP per head. Indeed, the most authoritative study we have (from NIESR- see previous blog) says it's actually reduced average incomes because the average immigrant does a low paid job.

One final thing on the points system. The way it works in Oz is that they set an annual target for economic migrants, with the places allocated by Department of Immigration and Citizenship using a points system. The targets are set by the politicians, and the DIAC is expected to hit them.

Thus despite what Byrne implies, limits (aka "targets") are a key element of the system. And they are under political control. Unlike our hopeless wasters, Oz politicians have had the courage to grip the problem.

PS In reality of course, Byrne is pretty bright ( Fulbright Scholar at Harvard). Which means he almost ceratinly understands the facts about the Oz system etc. It's just that he reckons we're all so dumb he can get away with telling us whatever seems convenient at the time.

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