HSMP Forum's Press Release

ELECTIONS 2010 - POLITICAL PARTIES THREATEN TOUGH ACTION ON IMMIGRATION

Dt – 13th April 2010

With elections only a few weeks away, Britain’s three main political parties have outlined tough election policies to tighten the noose around immigrants.

The three major parties; Labour, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are targeting non-European Union immigrants through plans on “controlled migration”, capping the limit on the number of immigrants and restricting them to certain geographical areas.

Labour’s tough points-based system is already designed to reduce foreign migration in the UK. It’s recent “earned citizenship” policy threatens to deny settlement rights to immigrants who would have spent a considerable period of time as tax payers in the country and aspiring to settle down in the country.

Conservatives have widely discussed on applying a cap on immigration by proposing an annual limit to reduce immigration from non EU countries. The migration inflow under the Points Based System for 2009 was estimated to be around 150,000. Since a cap cannot be placed on migrants coming from European Union or on asylum seekers due to human rights conventions, it is highly likely that if Conservative party forms government they will target immigrants entering the country on tier 1, tier 2 and student visas.

Setting a cap on immigrant population may be a popular way of garnering more votes but the contribution of immigrants towards the economy cannot be ignored. Studies have shown that although glamorous on paper, practical implementation can be difficult and can in turn affect skilled labour, which is crucial for public sectors like the NHS and other similar sectors with skills shortage. Moreover, those coming on student visas to study in the UK universities would not be keen to come to the UK if they are not given opportunities for post study work. This can cause serious downfall in the 12.5 billion per year estimated economic contribution of international students to the UK economy.

Moreover, one of the proposals of the Conservative party for immigrants to integrate in the UK includes compulsory English language tests for those coming to the UK to get married. This test, which is a pre requisite for settlement purposes, is an unnecessary requirement at such an early stage when the applicant has to cope with additional pressures of settling down in a foreign country.

The Liberal Democrats on the other hand, suggest regional migration limits whereby visas would be issued for a particular area of the country, curtailing the migrant’s ability to move to other crowded parts of the UK. Such a measure not only curtails the basic right to freedom of movement in the country but it is also impractical if the individual has to relocate to some other part of the country for various reasons.

Camillus Osubor, Head of Policy, HSMP Forum said, “Setting geographical restrictions is not fair on the part of a future government that encourages a migrant to contribute as a taxpayer but does not allow them the mobility to improve their prospects.”

Amit Kapadia, Executive Director, HSMP Forum said, “It is already well known that under the present UK government, the position of the migrant is quite unpredictable and uncertain. However, any new party forming the government could lead to a complete overhaul of the system, bringing in new policies, committees and decisions. As voters and more importantly immigrants, the choice is between the devil and the deep sea and therefore it is imperative to have a clear idea of a political party’s immigration policies before people cast their precious vote.”


References:

Website – www.hsmpforum.org / www.hsmpforumltd.com

The HSMP Forum took its name from the UK's ‘Highly Skilled Migrant Programme which was introduced in 2002. HSMP Forum represents immigrants coming from non European Union countries and as well those settled here and campaigns on various immigration issues, it represents people of all nationalities and cultures. It is an immigrant support organisation and campaigns for immigrants cause. The organisation's aim is to support and assist immigrants under the world-renowned British principles of fair-play, equality and justice and believes in challenging any unfair policies which undermines migrants’ interests.


[4] The limit to limits: Is Cap on immigration a viable policy for the UK: IPPR

 
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