Neither Brightest nor Best: The new UK Government Immigration Policy
A UK Points-Based immigration policy will begin on 1st January, 2021 when free movement into and from the EU ends. Here are the official “characteristics” of the new system in order for an applicant to achieve the magical 70 points that will allow him or her to come to Britain:
There are of course complicated adjustments and exceptions that may be applied. The UK Policy Statement (19th February, 2020), ‘Skilled Workers’ Section 6 further complicates the ground rules by stating: “In effect, applicants will be able to ‘trade’ characteristics”.
The ink, however is scarcely dry on this Government’s claim, that this is a “firm and fair points-based system”; when we discover that the firmness is obviously negotiable, and the ‘fairness’, with all this loose wording, becomes an obvious invitation to the lawyers to have a field-day with the ‘characteristics-trading’.
Of course we should not believe that this failure is because the Government will not be aware of the shortcomings in the system. This is, rather classic UK regulation: with all the hallmarks of these great British regulatory institutions that established the standard: the Financial Services Authority (extinguished hastily after the Financial Crash), or the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (rendered extinct because it became all too obvious that it was the prisoner of the industries it was supposed to be regulating) – these failed institutions, however best represent how Britain actually prefers to do regulation in areas outside the reach of the EU: in short, British regulation is conventionally designed to fail. The British backstop has always been ‘self-regulation’ whenever Government can fudge it; but this is merely a token that regulation in Britain is almost invariably a matter of optics over reality: all fuss and no substance.
Why do I say this?
Let us look at official British immigration statistics. We are leaving the EU. EU citizens already do not feel very welcome, therefore we would expect EU immigration into Britain to fall; and it has fallen, but this is simply to miss the point. The proposition of Brexit was to take back control of Immigration, and to reduce the immigration numbers to the UK (forcefully promoted, whatever the consequences). Britain always has had control over non-EU immigration, and curiously has never done anything to use that control to reduce non-EU immigration in any meaningful way; it is just used as a self-regulating trade-off with EU immigration. We are merely now going through the process of switching from EU to Non-EU immigration, and are now in the middle of resetting the pipeline to point in a different direction. Do not expect anyone to look closely at anything. Non-EU immigration has actually increased, indeed it slowly gathering pace to replace the lost immigration from the EU. This was always going to happen. It was obvious and inevitable; indeed there can be little doubt that it was what the Conservative Government wanted to achieve; an election victory to execute Brexit (and triumphantly claim to have reduced EU immigration); with the target no doubt of not actually reducing net immigration to the UK at all.
Here are the official statistics, to June 2019 (‘000s):