Coronavirus: No UK visas for over-50s says Migration Watch UK


Few passengers at Canary Wharf station, London Docklands during coronavirus

Sanwar Ali,

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Comments by Sanwar Ali:

Migration Watch UK is known for taking an anti-immigration view on UK visa policy.  Certain reports that they have published have been very misleading.  Banning entry to people over 50 years of age due to coronavirus COVID-19 is likely to be very controversial.  Migration Watch has been quite influential some of the time.  However, this is one idea that the Government is unlikely to move ahead with.

UK visas for migrants over 50 should be prohibited until a coronavirus vaccine is found, according to think tank Migration Watch UK. The so-called, independent and non-political body, which campaigns for lower immigration to the UK, argues that non-EU migrants over the age of 50 are ‘a risk for putting the NHS under extra strain.’

According to Migration Watch UK, over-50s should be denied UK entry because if they catch coronavirus it increases their chances of requiring hospital treatment and care, putting the NHS under additional pressure.

Healthcare experts says that the likelihood of hospital admission and treatment for coronavirus increases with age. The chances of people aged under 50 needing hospital treatment is less than five per cent. However, the likelihood of hospital admission for over-50s is 10 per cent, increasing to 25 per cent for people in their 70s.

With the infection continuing to spread worldwide, Migration Watch UK says that the disease is likely to spread rapidly in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where public health services and medical facilities are less equipped to cope with the pandemic.

Migration Watch UK says exemptions for senior business officials

The controversial think tank did say that exemptions could be made for senior business officials in the over-50s age bracket.

The severity of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK has been emphasised by the need to call in the military to help setup emergency, makeshift hospitals to provide enough beds for those falling seriously ill with coronavirus.

The government has stepped up efforts to manufacture more ventilators in recent weeks, for those admitted to intensive care. However, ministers have been criticised for failing to supply adequate protective equipment for medical personnel.

Migration Watch said: “For so long as there is no vaccination against the coronavirus its presence transforms the context in which we must consider border controls. We know that it is highly contagious and that we have no scientifically proven treatment for it, let alone a cure.”

Despite the UK making progress to contain the spread of coronavirus, Migration Watch says efforts to halt the disease would be jeopardised if ‘unrestricted entry to the UK was allowed for millions of people arriving in the country from nations in which the virus is still significantly active.’

Coronavirus in the UK

As of 1 May, 2020 the UK has been in lockdown for five weeks. The next government review on whether lockdown measures can be eased is 7 May, 2020. Official figures put confirmed coronavirus cases at 171,253, with the death toll amounting to 26,771.

The likely number of cases and deaths will be much higher. Government ministers have now started including deaths from COVID-19 in care homes, having previously excluded these from daily figures.

On April 30, the death toll spiked again with 674 fatalities reported, despite the number dropping in the two days prior.

Calls for the government to ease lockdown measures are growing. However, government ministers are reluctant to lift restrictions, saying that it’s still too soon to do so safely.

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