Three thousand migrants have congregated in the area known as the ‘Jungle’ in the past few weeks with many hoping that they will an opportunity to make a clandestine crossing of the Channel to find a safe haven in the UK.
Labour's leadership contenders have form on immigration issues The candidates in the battle to succeed Ed Miliband as the leader of the Labour party has allowed an opportunity for the party to debate immigration policy more openly and without the constraints of a set and rigid policy agenda. Jeremy Corbyn, who during the selection period just about scraped enough nominations to get on to the ballot, has found himself leading the race with a tsunami of support from constituency Labour branches across the country. Corbyn is also, along with Liz Kendall, a candidate who is on the ‘pro’ side of the immigration debate.
The news that the government has directed the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to come up with proposals to restrict skilled migration to the UK reveal the lines of tension that run between major planks of its own policy. On the one hand there is the Chancellor George Osborne’s drive to get more balance into the UK economy and his ‘march of the makers’ finally under way; and on the other, Home Secretary Theresa May’s determination to achieve the long-postponed goal of pushing net migration below the hundred thousand mark.
The events organised last week to mark the third anniversary of family migration rules which hugely increased the income level required from people sponsoring the admission of family members was rewarding for all involved in the sense of solidarity and mutual aid which passed between participants.
The ongoing crisis on the Mediterranean has shed light on an old unsolved - and clearly so often poorly addressed problem at the heart of Europe: namely its relation with its Other.
The substantial convergence of views on immigration policy within different fractions of the political establishment presents a dispiriting picture to anyone looking for a discussion about alternatives. Is it really the case that the only things on offer is how best to enforce ‘tough’ border controls?
9th July will be the third anniversary of the new income threshold for family migration. It marks the end of the third year in which thousands of British citizens have been separated from their partners. The third year in which 42% of British workers are deemed too poor to be trusted to build a family life in the UK with whomever they please. A third year in which thousands of British children grow up knowing their mothers or fathers only as figures trapped in something called Skype.
Given the last 5 years of immigration policy changes, it was hardly surprising to see that the UK has slipped out of the top 10 in the latest edition of the MIPEX report, launched at an event organised in Parliament last week. The Migrant Integration Policy Index aims to provide a comparative evaluation framework for integration policies across 38 countries. UK now ranks 15th thanks to the more restrictive policies on citizenship, anti-discrimination, family reunion, migrant workers’ rights and the education of immigrant children introduced by the last coalition Government. Most changes were motivated by the government's pledge to cap migration at the tens of thousands, coupled with the pursuit of austerity and localism.
The opportunity to attend the annual workshop and general assembly of PICUM (the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants) at the end of last week in Brussels was particularly welcome given the commitment of the Conservative government to push ahead with measures to further criminalise the position of people without regular leave to live and work in the UK.
It is a great paradox of our time that the more the world becomes globalised in terms of the interconnectedness of economies and societies the worse we seem to be getting in terms of managing the movement of people across borders and frontiers.
In the run up to the election we ran a campaign called Our Vote 2015. It highlighted six issues any future Government needs to address. These issues were supported and echoed in all corners of the country and formed the basis of our Migrant Manifesto. As part of the campaign we asked you to write to your Parliamentary candidates telling them these were the issues you wanted them to raise, and 3,500 letters were sent to over 1,500 parliamentary candidates up and down the country!
Nigel Mills, Conservative MP for Amber Valley, dramatically slowed down the previous Coalition Government's flagship Immigration Bill by tabling an amendment that unlawfully attempted to halt the lifting of transitional restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians who wanted to work in the UK. In the process, around 80 Conservative MPs were ready to back him, which led to the Home Secretary having to 'talk out' various amendments to her own Bill.
These are people who are typically found entering office building late at night when no one is around, emptying waste bins, vacuum-cleaning floors, cleaning toilets and generally putting things in order. Other times they’ll be found in residential care homes around the country, changing sheets and bed pans, helping old people through an exercise routine and encouraging them to eat their meals.
In a recent article over at Public Finance Neil Merrick casts a sympathetic eye over the plight of local authorities who are being expected to pick up more and more of the mess caused by central government cuts even though their own budgets are stretched thin. Many migrants with the legal right to live and work in the UK have a no recourse to public funds (NRPF) condition imposed on them by central government. This means that if they become unemployed, or are in serious need because the income they receive is too low, or the cost of their housing increases, they have no access to any benefits.
The GE2015 dust is settling and it is clear that the ‘mainstream’ party with the most restrictive manifesto pledges on immigration has come out on top. Re-reading the Tory manifesto We provided a ‘no comment’ summary of what the Conservative was advocating in its election manifesto back in the middle of April and from this point on we have to regard it as the blueprint for policies that aim to push back against the numbers of migrants coming to the UK each year.