Blogs by Don Flynn
This week’s employment statistics showed that the UK economy is continuing to generate jobs at a high rate. Although the numbers are beginning to show signs of weakening, the UK is still ahead in comparison to the rest of Europe which remains stuck in the economic doldrums. Unsurprisingly, given that the country is part of a single market for goods, services, capital and labour, job growth has continued to attract inward migration of workers from other parts of the European Union.
The number of EU nationals employed in the UK now stands at a shade under 2 million people with 85,000 workers added to the total in the three months up to June 2015. A further 30,000 people from non-EU countries got jobs during this period. In the meantime the numbers of British nationals in employment shrunk by 170,000.
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.
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 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?
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