The party conference season has now ended and Immigration looks likely to be high on the agendas for each of the major political parties. Early election manifestos are already being published and Immigration is being put under the same headings as Crime and Welfare Benefits, once more putting it across in a negative light to the public.

Generalising a little, there are five categories of people coming into the UK with any degree of permanence:

  • European Citizens
  • Students
  • Workers
  • Asylum seekers
  • Family members of the above or British Citizens

So which of these categories do those campaigning for less immigration want to cut down?

European citizens are only able to remain in the UK while they exercise one of their rights under the European Treaties, which is almost always their right to work. Despite what the tabloids may say, the majority of European nationals coming to the UK do so to work. Our benefits system is tricky enough to negotiate and hard enough to live on for the average Brit let alone for someone who doesnt have English as a first language. The sort of feckless individual who doesn’t want to have to work for a living doessn’t tend to have the get-up-and-go to travel a thousand miles in order to be lazy and there are very few people around who believe Britain’s streets are paved with gold.

So how about students? To get a student visa they have to
show they go to a legitimate College or University, pay their fees (which are often higher than for UK residents) which help pay the tutors wages and keep the college going for others. To study at a higher level they have to show they have progressed sufficiently to be able to complete further courses, as well as pay for them. Most of which is policed by the college itself, who have to make sure students are likely to stick it through the whole course as limited international places mean if one drops out they and their fees can’t be replaced. Again, denying them entry to the UK would be counter productive.

Workers can only obtain a Work Permit if they can fill one of the “Shortage Occupations” which the government publishes a list of, showing that they fulfil a need which the UK has for particular specialisms, updated regularly. For example, at the moment maths teachers are on the list, if someone who disagrees with immigration so much they want to take a stand again
st it, they can train as a maths teacher and stop one of those terrible foreigners teaching our children how to add up.

That brings us to asylum seekers. The sort of people who you see reports of drowning in huge numbers in the Mediterranean because what they’re fleeing from in their home country is so bad that crowding with 300 other people onto a boat designed for 20 to cross a sea looks like the better option. Are we to send them back to be tortured just because they were born into the wrong religion or have a political view less abhorrent than that of their own government?

Which leaves the husbands, wives and children of all of the above, or of British people. Which of those are we expected to separate from their loved ones?

Talk by some politicians of no longer recognising the European Convention on Human Rights because it means we can’t control our own borders is short sighted and inaccurate. The vast majority of the people coming into the UK legally
are a benefit to the country and those that aren’t are generally the illegal ones who the Government should be trying to find and control better, rather than looking for headlines on recorded migration numbers falling. People’s rights under the European Convention, to be with their family, to not be tortured or killed and to have a fair trial, are reflections of the respect for other people that Britain is respected for holding.

Whatever the headlines coming out of the upcoming conferences, we believe that immigration is a positive for the UK and can offer advice and assistance to anyone looking to come or stay here.