Just over a week ago TCW asked its readers the direct question: Should immigration be substantially reduced? The answer was categorical: 97 per cent believed it should and just 3 per cent said no.
Do you support a significant reduction in the level of immigration?
— The Conservative Woman (@TheConWom) September 24, 2018
Sadly, but predictably, there was nothing in the Prime Minister’s post-Brexit immigration policy announcement yesterday to suggest that she is listening or that she understands the country is overcrowded, its infrastructure lacking and assimilation impossible at this rate of entry.
Her proposals designed to appease business (they didn’t) mirror the the narrowly economically oriented advice given by her Migration Advisory Committee, of which Lord Green of Migration Watch was searing in his criticism.
‘The combination of the widening of the skill level, opening the route to the whole world, removal of safeguards for UK workers and abolition of the cap on highly-skilled work permits may well be seen in the future as a very serious mistake.’ he wrote.
Yesterday he explained why Mrs May’s assurances regarding the ending the free movement of EU citizens, giving high-skilled workers preference and curbing low skilled immigration, were hollow. They would not cap net migration. He warned, too, that:
The public should stand by for a gold rush by employers as they race to fish in an unlimited pool of skilled foreign workers rather than train their own. This new immigration system will be widened to include medium skills, there will be no limit on numbers, no checks as to whether a British worker is available – only a minimum salary which can easily be manipulated. With immigration adding one million to our population every three years we must get the numbers down. This new system could well add to net migration. If so, the public would rightly see it as a major step backwards.
For the European Research Group’s immigration paper and proposals for a comprehensive reduction in numbers published the day before, however, Lord Green had positive words:
‘At last we have proposals for a serious and effective immigration policy for EU migration. It is time that the government stopped dithering and started delivering on their promises to cut immigration as a large majority of the public wish to see.’
What a pity it is not the ERG’s advice that Mrs May has chosen to follow.