We’ve seen the bidding war on immigration between UKIP and the Tories.
But Theresa May is now taking it to a new level. It’s one thing talking about restricting the benefit rights of EU migrants. But it is another to declare, as May does through the Sunday Times headline: “I’ll kick out foreign graduates”.
Just think that one through.
Our schools, colleges and universities are revered around the world. Parents pay a fortune to send their children from the opposite side of the globe to educational establishments in the UK. We then give them the benefit of a fine education and a grounding in our culture and language. It is quite right that such graduates can currently move reasonably seamlessly to a work permit. We have areas of our economy where we desperately need brain power. The NHS springs to mind. But there are other areas such as science-based industries, telecommunications and IT. We can always do with the brightest and best helping our industry and public services.
But what does May want to do? She wants to kick out those brightest and best. Kick them out of the country and then make them grovel to come back in. In many cases they won’t bother, and we would have lost an excellent source of brains. And this, we’re told, is in order to meet the Tories’ crazy net migration target.
It’s economic madness. If we went down that road, as a country, we would be cutting our nose off to spite our face.
But there is an interesting irony in this move by Theresa May, said to be ‘burnishing’ her credentials as a future Tory leader. Most likely, the immediate timing of this move was motivated by yesterday’s headline. The Commons Home Affairs select committee have found that May has presided over chaos in the immigration system, with just short of 400,000 unresolved immigration cases in existence.
So, Theresa May has basically allowed anyone to walk into the country and stay here, via administrative chaos, and reacts by cutting off a vital supply of brainpower for our economy.
This is the craziest evidence so far of the madness of the bidding war between UKIP and the Tories.