Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.
The European Union’s blanket immigration policy is unfair. It has a blatant disregard for the lives of refugees in its implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. It outlaws nations from blocking boats coming through the Mediterranean, encouraging the flow and resulting in the deaths by drowning of thousands of North Africans. What’s more, the EU’s unwavering commitment to ‘Union citizenship‘ as the ‘fundamental status of nationals of the Member States‘ heralds unstable levels of migration between EU countries. This fosters anti-immigrant sentiment and the unfair exclusion of people from nations to which we have historically and culturally been more aligned, such as Bangladesh and Kenya.
On 31st January, the United Kingdom will be leaving the European Union and the fundamental pillars of its Single Market. This spells the end of the right to free movement of people from the EU coming to Britain. This change will be one of the most difficult, career-defining policies of any Prime Minister for generations. How Boris Johnson decides to shape the future of this country, which is built on the foundations of immigration, will alter our course of history forever.
Some have argued that immigration should come down after Brexit, pointing towards the strain that uncontrolled migration puts on public services like the NHS. However, we have seen a dip in migration over the past few years already. In 2015, net migration into the UK sat at 333,000. Today, it has fallen to 258,000. Others, however, are more pragmatic and realise the importance of skilled, global citizens coming to work and build a life in our country after we leave the EU. Non-EU migration to the UK has shot up to nearly 250,000 since the vote three years ago, including large numbers of Chinese students and Indian workers (both groups which give an overwhelming net contribution to the British economy). Estimates suggest that within years of Brexit, Indians will once again be Britain’s largest migrant group, overtaking migrants from Poland.
These Asian countries host some of the most highly educated people in the world. Home Secretary Priti Patel’s new pro-global immigration policies are set to welcome skilled migrants earning over £30,000 a year and fast-track visas for scientists. So, we could be seeing many more coming to contribute to our society in the coming years. It has been revealed that since last year the number of Indian students in the UK has risen by 40%. The Government has also hinted at unlimited immigration for highly skilled Indians wanting to come to the UK. This would go some way in compensating the thousands of skilled Asian immigrants denied entry due to our warped immigration system which favours Europeans.
Also, cultural ties between China (particularly Hong Kong) and India have already been established, with large Asian communities thriving up and down the nation. These countries are likely to demand more visas for their citizens after Brexit. This is something we should not shy away from. As a former Home Office official says, ‘Diageo will send them a load of whisky [and in return]they will send us a load of skilled people‘. If the UK Government pursue truly liberal, sensible post-Brexit immigration policies, then the future of Britain is undoubtedly a global one. The UK was built by immigrants, and the more we welcome them from all nations, the more we gain.