Had my grandparents not moved to Britain in the 1960’s I would not be here. Given also that I am a libertarian it is no surprise therefore that my attitude towards immigration is very relaxed. Over the last few years there has been an increase in hostility towards immigration. Some understandable because of failures to integrate new arrivals properly and lack of planning for numbers. Some however totally unjust and based on a closed-minded bigoted view of the world.
The idea that immigrants steal jobs is wrong. The number of jobs in an economy is not fixed more people bring an increase in demand for goods and services. Common sense should lead you to the belief that this means an increase in the number of jobs on the market. Admittedly it can be slow for supply to catch up with this increase in demand, as in with housing for example. Ultimately though If you have an STI, an ASBO and an inability to get out of bed past midday, it is not the immigrants that are keeping you from work but you yourself.
There are many benefits from immigration. We are all now acutely aware that one of the problems we face as a society is an ageing population. Immigration can help with this by expanding the size of the labour force. Immigrants tend to be young and fit, thus have a lower demand for healthcare. The people who come here tend to be some of the hardest working, if you have the guts get off your backside and travel sometimes thousands of miles from your home, to better yourself, you are not likely to be a someone who believes in entitlements. We see this in the fact that immigrants are less likely to take use welfare and overall make a net positive impact on the economy.
In some areas in our quest to get immigration below an arbitrary target policies have descended into madness, no more so than around students. Our universities are world class. They act as a tractor beam for some of the most talented and intelligent people from around the world. If after completing their studies some these people wish to stay in the U.K. we should be biting their hands off. These are people that would make huge contributions to business, to the arts, to academia, in ideas, in innovation and so and so on. Indeed, I knew a woman at university who could do the most complicated mathematics in her head, in half the time it would take us mortals using pen and paper. Although wanting to stay in the U.K. had to leave once her studies were over.
Now this is not to say that mistakes have not been made around immigration. There are many who are concerned about the cultural impact of having a large flow of migrants who do not share our values of freedom of speech, freedom of thought, liberty and democracy. It would be true to say that there are certain migrant communities which have done a poor job of integrating themselves into wider society. For me this is an issue that can be dealt with by moves towards more secularism.
It is also the case that with everything going on in the world we need to vet people to ensure they are not a risk to the nation. Thankfully due to the fact we are an Island this is a easy thing for us to do.
Ultimately, we should be relaxed about immigration. Dare I say it we need an Australian style points system and we should be relaxed also about total numbers if the criteria we set is met.