A new report has slammed the government for fuelling public concerns over UK visa and immigration numbers. The report, compiled by a cross-party of MPs, accuses the government of unnecessarily stoking anxiety over immigration rather than diffusing public fears.
The report alleges that the government is ‘encouraging the growth of populist anti-immigrant sentiment.’ The accusations come following news that ministers have been ‘over exaggerating’ the number of students remaining in Britain, once their UK visa expires, for years.
The cross-party inquiry stated that Prime Minister, Theresa May’s, discredited target of reducing net migration to under 100,000 ‘is mostly to blame’ for fuelling public fears. The unrealistic target has been blamed for an extraordinary rise in hate crime incidents in the aftermath of the Brexit vote in June 2016.
Sanwar Ali, workpermit.com comments
Creating a "toxic" atmosphere towards immigrants causes all sorts of problems. An atmosphere of suspicion and animosity towards migrants and those that help migrants is likely to result in more bad decision making . Thus making it more difficult for employers to hire badly needed staff. Families are more likely to have to live apart. It is also more likely that those people who help migrants will be targetted.
If a decision is wrong and unfair then this should be admitted. Instead, too much of the time there is an attitude that "we are always right" and we will never, ever under any circumstances admit that we have made a mistake. In the interests of justice this attitude should change.
A free media is incredibly important. Our hard won freedoms should be protected. The Second World War ended with Nazi Germany that controlled and censored the media being defeated. As can be seen in this news report the media has an essential role in exposing serious problems in Government Agencies and in those organisations sponsored by Government Agencies. We are concerned at new attempts by an organisation sponsored by the Home Office to censor the media because it might cause them embarrassment. No words are strong enough to condemn such actions.
UK Tier 2 visa in decline
People often migrate to the UK using a Tier 2 visa for skilled workers, allowing them to work for a Tier 2 Sponsorship License holding UK employer. As we recently reported, Tier 2 applications from Indians, who take the lion's share of Tier 2 visas, are in sharp decline amid the UK's anti-immigrant atmosphere and tightening of visa rules.
UK visa and immigration data sparks labour market fears
The Independent reported that this latest inquiry comes hot on the heels of new, official UK visa and immigration data, which exposed a steep drop in the number of European citizens wanting to come to Britain. This has sparked fears that a labour market crisis in Britain is imminent.
Amid growing pressure from business and civil rights groups, as the government looks to reform UK visa and immigration policy, Home Secretary Amber Rudd commissioned the so-called, independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to review the economic benefits of immigrants arriving in Britain.
The report released by the cross-party group of politicians, titled Integration Not Demonisation, scorned the UK government’s controversial plans to cut annual net migration down to the tens of thousands.
Unachievable UK visa and immigration targets
An excerpt from the report reads: “By setting targets for the reduction of immigration, which were never achievable and which they inevitably went on to miss repeatedly, ministers’ undermined public confidence in the ability of the government to manage UK visa and immigration volumes.”
The report goes on to claim that government officials have purposely fuelled public fears over demographic and cultural change brought about by immigration. The inquiry rips into the government for spreading anti-immigrant sentiment.
The cross-party group of politicians urged their political counterparts to ‘tone down’ the language they use when referring to UK visas and immigration. The group warned that the rhetoric used throughout the EU referendum has given rise to ‘racist attitudes among the British public, which had previously gone unexpressed.’
Increased incidents of racist abuse
The Independent reported that the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration referred to a notable increase in incidents of racial abuse, which targeted migrants. Meanwhile, there had been a spike in the number of racially and religiously aggravated hate crimes in the months immediately after the Brexit vote.
The inquiry recommends a ‘major drive’ to integrate immigrants and warned that they increasingly led segregated lives. The report asserts that integration should include compulsory English lessons for migrants newly arrived in Britain, who can’t speak the language.
Lessons should be funded by loans and repaid when a person’s salary reaches a designated threshold, in much the same way that Britain’s student loan system operates. Labour MP, Chuka Umunna, who chairs the cross-party group, is a leading supporter of Open Britain, which is campaigning against what it describes as a ‘hard and destructive’ Brexit.
The group is also running the Drop the Target campaign, alongside The Independent, which calls on the government to scrap plans to reduce net migration numbers to the tens of thousands.
Umunna said: “The demonisation of immigrants, exacerbated by the poisonous tone of the debate during the EU referendum campaign and after, shames us all and is a huge obstacle to creating a socially integrated nation.”
The Labour MP argued that Britain’s diverse communities must be safeguarded against those that would peddle hatred and incite division, but acknowledged that public concerns over immigration – including its impact on public services – must be addressed rationally.
Regional UK visa policy
Meanwhile, the report has urged the government to allow UK nations and regions to establish their own UK visa and immigration policies, while having a legal responsibility to actively promote integration. The group added that it wants to see ‘fair movement’ post-Brexit.
“The UK could attach stipulations to the EU’s free movement scheme like a number of other EU other countries do. This would allow continued access to the single market,” the group said.
Report slammed by Leave Means Leave
However, the cross-party report was slammed by Leave Means Leave, a campaign group that is lobbying for a ‘clean Brexit’ that regains controls of Britain’s borders, laws and money. Co-chair, Richard Tice said: “There is nothing ‘poisonous’ about wanting to take back control of Britain’s borders.”
“In fact Chuka Umunna should be ashamed to suggest there is. Chuka is in complete denial about the referendum result and is trying to retain a form of freedom of movement which is completely against the democratic will of the British people,” Tice added.
Help with your UK visa
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