The Tory government’s new plans for policing and prisons came unstuck before they’d even got off the ground. Because a thinktank chaired by Iain Duncan Smith is already calling for changes to immigration rules from home secretary Priti Patel.
Given its track record so far, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the new government adopted these changes. As a government that appears to prioritise posturing over progress, they’re just the ticket.
Money, money, money
The right–wing Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) released the proposals in a report on 11 August. It’s demanding the minimum threshold of earnings to be raised to a whopping £36,700 for immigrant workers. The threshold is the lowest a worker can earn to be eligible to work in the UK. The government already has a threshold for non-EU immigrants coming to the country to work. But the CSJ is calling on Patel to raise that as part of the post-Brexit immigration policy, where EU citizens will be subject to the threshold too.
The CSJ does call, however, for occupations of “strategic importance” (such as nursing) to be open to exemption to the threshold via a “Certificate of Sponsorship”.
The thinktank also wants the government to review and reform family-related visas, whereby people move to the UK due to family being in the country, such as a spouse. It says the current system:
risks leading to increased low income and low skilled migration in the UK.
Chance would be a fine thing
It didn’t take people long to point out the obvious flaws with the plan, such as the UK waving goodbye to those who aren’t considered to be in an occupation of “strategic importance”:
It's not only social science, but all those researchers in chemistry, medicine and those working for Cancer Research at Cambridge University wouldn't be desirable according to Priti Patel's £36,700 threshold. And then they say they "welcome scientists"… pic.twitter.com/7OB2vz3kpY
— Alexandra Bulat (@alexandrabulat) August 11, 2019
Madness. Many jobs carried out by ‘migrants’ – in nursing, social care, farming, industry, hospitality, etc. pay less than £36k a year; there aren’t enough British citizens to take their places. Are these sectors, vital to our wellbeing & economy, going to be allowed to collapse?
— Malcolm Fincken (@MalcolmFincken) August 11, 2019
Then there’s the possibility that EU countries would set up reciprocal arrangements:
If Priti Patel is serious about this £36,000 pa cut off for EU nationals to have settled status in the UK…then I'm likely to be chucked out of France.
I had no vote.
Livid won't even begin to cover it.
— Timo#FBPE (@timolarch) August 12, 2019
Others pointed out that, if such rules had existed previously, a number of people may not have settled in Britain. That includes, potentially, Patel herself:
— Shobna (@ShobnaGulati) August 12, 2019
From bad to worse
Patel has argued for a skills-focused approach to immigration. Since becoming home secretary, she’s also vowed to bring back “integrity” to the system, saying it shouldn’t be a “superficial numbers game”.
But that’s essentially what this proposal would be. Although, rather than controlling the numbers of people coming in, it would control people’s access to Britain based on the financial numbers they earn each year. It makes it all about the money you’ve got rather than the benefit you bring. That sounds right up this Conservative government’s alley.
Featured image via The Telegraph/YouTube
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