Immigration almost meeting record heights
The possibility of a ‘Brexit’ has brought immigration to the very forefront of the political and legal agenda, it is therefore imperative to have a clear understanding facts, figures and impact of immigrants in this country. With reports that immigration to the UK is almost reaching an all-time high, and with the fear mongering attached to it in the media, it is easy to feel intimidated or even afraid of the topic.
News outlets such as the Guardian have provided figures for net migration for 2015 with 330,000 long term immigrants. This is just 3000 under the record high peak, an 81% rise since 2012 and 20,000 higher than 2014. A total of 630,000 immigrants have entered the UK, many of which from Europe, while 270,000 people left and migrated elsewhere. Despite these intimidating figures, this could in fact have a very positive impact on Britain, socially, politically and economically.
What does such an increase mean for the British immigration system?
Despite the mass increase in immigration to the UK, the application process remains very much the same. It is important, however, to stay up to date in order to act accordingly if there are any changes. Please visit our blog for more information on immigration and vital updates: https://www.hudsonmckenzie.com/blog/
Political figures and immigration
As this is a high profile topic, it is to no surprise that various political figures and parties are split in opinion – David Cameron and Boris Johnson are key examples. Both Cameron and Johnson are influential figures from the conservative party, however, while Cameron has swayed towards ‘the remain’ campaign, Johnson has stood firmly, been outspoken on the topic and spear headed the campaign to leave. An example of his contributions to his campaign is his statement reported in Business Insider: “You see the pressure on public services, you see the waiting lists in hospitals, in GP surgeries and of course in schools,”
One of Boris Johnson’s main focus and drive throughout this campaign is the Conservatives failure to deliver in their immigration policies. Despite promising to decrease net migration to less than 100,000 they have not kept to this figure, giving further ammunition to ‘the leave’ campaign.
In addition to this, ‘the leave’ campaign provides information that opting out of the EU will give the United Kingdom the potential to create its own global trade deals. While this is factually correct at face value, it is unknown as to whether this would ultimately be beneficial.
Sadiq Khan, the new mayor of London, has shown a different side, forcefully campaigning to remain. Business insider reported his statement “We wouldn’t be where we are today in London with an isolationist approach… We know from experience that the answer is to get more involved, to form alliances and actively to shape our future in the world. That is the British way. That is certainly the London way.”
It is important to remember that the Britain we know today is built by and has its very foundations in the diversity of its nation. Historically, Britain has been invaded by many nations and has done the same to others. However, for decades’ peace and unity is what has brought together nations within the international spectrum. One of the aspects which has greatly aided peace among nations are international institutions such as the European Union and The United Nations.
The use of the media as a campaign tool for both parties has had a great effect on general public opinion and tolerance of immigrants. While the actions of public figures such as Sadiq Khan may increase some integration, some of the negativity spread by the leave campaign can have an increase on xenophobia and racism.
The possible and positive impact of immigration
While it is easy to get bogged down with the negativity surrounding immigration, it has been proven that immigration actually has a positive impact on the United Kingdom.
- Many economists believe that immigration can further create and has created a more flexible labour market. Often, immigrants migrate to the UK on short term contracts, such as less than a year, in order to fulfil the demand for jobs when there are not enough workers available. This particularly useful for the semi-skilled market, where there is often a higher demand for workers than there is a supply.
- The treasury independent advisors have stated that immigration has a positive effect on the British economy. This is due to the likelihood that they will be of working age and therefore there will be a contribution to taxes and benefit the ‘public purse’.
- There are also social benefits to immigration. The increase in immigration can also allow an increase in integration. This increase can not only enable a greater understanding of other nations on a personal level or within a community, but also nationally and internationally.
- Put simply, keeping to the terms of the European Union and freedom of movement also means that Britain benefits from EU trade agreements. These agreements mean that any company that wishes to trade with any EU nations has to abide by EU taxes and prices.
Despite what is being stated in the media, there is no hard evidence that immigration causes unemployment for UK nationals. Although the fall in unemployment may encourage the use of freedom of movement within the EU, an increase in immigration has not been proven to actually cause an increase in UK unemployment.
Finally, please don’t forget to vote!
Ultimately, the referendum leaves a great uncertainty within Britain, for both immigrants and British nationals. It is impossible to truly predict what a departure from the EU would bring. No matter which way you vote, your vote counts! If you are 18 or older and meet the requirements do not forget to register by 7th June! If you are overseas, it may be a good idea to apply to vote by proxy.