Scary anti-immigration feeling

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I watched a James O’Brien programme the other day. Immigration was the subject.

A young man said that we should have a points system like Australia. We do. You only have to look at the array of categories set up for visa applications:

You’ll need a visa to work or do business or academic research in the UK
The visa you apply for depends on your circumstances.

Skilled workers

A ‘skilled worker’ visa may be suitable if you’ve been offered a:
##skilled job in the UK
##role in your overseas employer’s UK branch – the visa you apply for depends on your circumstances
##job in a religious community
##job as an elite sportsperson or coach

Temporary workers

A ‘temporary worker’ visa may be suitable if you want work in the UK for a short time:
##in sports
##in arts or entertainment
##as a volunteer
##in a work experience role
##for a charity
##for a religious organisation

You can also apply for an international agreement visa if you’ll be doing work covered by international law while in the UK (eg working for a foreign government or as a private servant in a diplomatic household).

‘High value’ workers

A ‘high value worker’ visa may be suitable if you’re:
##an investor
##an entrepreneur
##a graduate entrepreneur
##a leader in arts or sciences

Commonwealth citizens

You may be eligible for a UK ancestry visa if one of your grandparents was born in the UK.

Other workers

You can also apply as a:
##domestic worker in a private household
##representative of an overseas business

How your visa is treated depends on what sort of job you are pursuing.

But of course those categories don’t apply to EU citizens who have a different process, but who still need to be coming here to work or study, or be able to support themselves. And what about the 1-2 million Brits working and/or living in Spain, France, Germany, Ireland and other EU countries? They would have to come back to the UK if we came out of the EU. That would be a cataclysmic cutting off of our economic nose to spite our face.

Back to the James O’Brien show. We then had Christine Hamilton saying that ‘immigration into this country is equivalent to adding the population of Greater Birmingham every three years’. The population of Greater Birmingham is 2.4 million. For the year from Oct 13 to Sep 14 net migration to the UK was 298,000. I think La Hamilton is taking immigration only, which was 624,000 in that period. She is then adding a bit. Quite a bit, in fact.

I am taken by this snippet from Channel 4 News’ Factcheck:

…we shouldn’t be surprised…

…that people living in low-immigration areas are still worried about migrants.

According to the latest British Social Attitudes survey, “those most likely to be directly exposed to migration in their daily lives have much more positive views”.

“Londoners, those with migrant heritage, and those with migrant friends (all of whom are more likely to have regular direct contact with migrants) have more positive than negative views about immigration’s effects.

“The most intensely negative views are found among the oldest voters, and those with no migrant friends.”

That explains why UKIP’s target constituencies in the May elections are areas of well below average immigrant populations, as the Channel 4 News piece states.