By Sanwar Ali
We include below a review of news reports covering UK visas and immigration and will focus in particular on the Brexit Party and the European Elections this week.
What are the Brexit Party’s Immigration Policies?
This is a mystery. We assume that the immigration policies will be pretty hardline. Nigel Farage is a great admirer of Enoch Powell. The late Enoch Powell was a highly controversial MP with hardline views on immigration. It is very difficult to find out what these policies are.
The Brexit Party pledges are as follows:
- Brexit Party MEPs should have a major role in the Brexit negotiations - Westminster has failed to deliver and can’t be trusted. Enough is enough.”
- We will work to stop any dodgy May/Corbyn Brexit deal - 17.4m voted to Leave - not for a ‘Brexit in Name Only’.
- We will push for Brexit on World Trade Organisation terms - a WTO Brexit is a huge opportunity - not something to fear.
- We won’t pay the £39 billion demanded by the EU - we won’t be held to ransom. That’s our money to invest in our country.
It has been suggested that it may prove to be extremely difficult to put these “pledges” into practice.
Brexit party officials removed after racist or antisemitic posts
Last month The Guardian reported on the resignation of two officials due to anti-semitic and anti-Islamic remarks. Catherine Blaiklok the former leader was removed due to making Islamophobic comments and retweeting a neo-Nazi.
Michael McGough former Treasurer of the Brexit Party had the following to say when referring to Ed and David Miliband and Peter Mandelson as having “shallow UK roots” or being “devoid of UK roots”. These are thought to be antisemitic tropes about Jewish people.
Immigration to the UK has been changing since the 2016 European Referendum
As reported in the Independent fewer EU citizens are arriving in the UK than before. Immigration from Europe is the lowest for five years. However, there was still a net increase of 74,000 EU nationals migrating to the UK last year. The UK remains popular with non-EU citizens who appear to be less concerned about Brexit. This is despite the UK having some of the most expensive Government visa fees in the World.
Financial Time comments on Skills shortages
Unemployment is the lowest it has been for about fifty years. Employers are having difficulties finding employees. It is expected that in sectors such as hospitality, information and communications, healthcare, construction, etc will suffer from even greater skills shortage when EU/EEA citizens are no longer able to work freely in the UK.
It may be the case that new EU citizen arrivals will be able to work freely in the UK even after Brexit. However, what will the situation be if there is a “no deal” Brexit? There is some uncertainty over this.
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