Saturday, May 01, 2010

Our Scary Shambolic Migration "Debate"

On the campaign trail yesterday, Tyler had the chance to chat with leaders of our sizeable local muslim community. Very interesting.

For one thing, these are people who most definitely contribute to our society. Not only do they run a wide range of local businesses, they also really do believe in giving something back - both in time and money.

What also became clear was that they are as concerned about the immigration issue as the rest of us. They are as appalled as Tyler at Brown's dismissal of the Rochdale granny as a bigot. And they want to see somebody get a grip on the numbers now coming to Britain. Housing's a big local problem, jobs have become a problem, and this is all getting very scary.

One of the underlying problems of course, is that we haven't got a clear agreed view on what's actually going on.

For example, last night on BBC TV News, Prog Con spokesman Mark Easton did a "reality check" on Clegg's now notorious claim that 80% of immigrants come from within the EU (see yesterday's blog). And Easton concluded that Clegg is indeed wrong (see his blog here).

However - and it is A Big However - where Clegg is right is in saying that only a small proportion of total non-EU immigrants say they are coming here to work. In fact, in the most recent year (2008), the International Passenger Survey records only one-in-eight long-term migrants coming to the UK from outside the EU and saying they're coming to work.

Which is why, suggests Easton, Clegg is right in saying the evil Tories' plan to cap the number of non-EU workers coming in won't work.


What Easton didn't explain is what are all the others coming here for?

Because in terms of overall net migration flows, that very same Survey tells us that migrants from outside the EU constituted 130% of total immigration. Overall net immigration was 129,000, of which no fewer than 168,000 came from outside the EU (the overall figure is only brought down to 129,000 because a net 84,000 Brits upped sticks and left).

The truth is that by far the biggest inward migration flow from outside the EU comes from people who say they are coming here to study.

If we look at the same Survey, we find that just in the last 5 years, over 0.5m people net came here from outside the EU saying they were going to study. Which is 60% of all net inward migration over the period.

And in principle, we should be delighted that people want to study here. Not only does it earn us money, but it also gives us valuable worldwide connections for the future.

The problem comes when these students don't actually leave again afterwards. Or even worse, when they are coming here as part of a thinly disguised people trafficking scam to study for one of those infamous bogus degrees.

So what should we do?

Despite what Easton implies, you have to believe that any capping system worth its salt will have to include students who want to stay on to work after they qualify. They can't just be left to join our labour force willy-nilly.

So a properly designed and enforced capping system must include such students from outside the EU.

The Tories are planning to do that... right?

1 comment:

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