Personal Immigration

UK politicians calling for end to "nonsensical" net migration targets

There is a growing call for the UK government to rethink its “nonsensical” targets for net migration, echoing similar recommendations from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

An appetite for reform

The immigration spokesman for the SNP, Stuart McDonald MP, has spoken about the findings of the CBI report. He claims that the UK business community has a strong desire to see reforms in the national non-EU immigration system, which would enable firms to have improved access to people and skills from countries beyond the EU.

The report was titled ‘Open and Controlled: a New Approach to Migration’, and it collected evidence from some 129,000 firms across a range of industries. It reached the conclusion that the UK government should be focused on boosting public trust in the migration system by shifting the focus away from reducing numbers.

The hostile environment

There has been long-term, vociferous opposition to the Prime Minister’s current “hostile environment” policy. Calls demand an alternative immigration policy based on statistics and evidence that supports our economy in the inevitably challenging post-Brexit environment. The latest calls are for a “root-and-branch” review of the existing immigration policy that serves facts more than it does the ideological interests of the Conservative party.

There have long been promises of a white paper for immigration and an immigration bill, but the government has failed to deliver on these promises thus far. With only months before the date, the UK is set to leave the EU, the Scottish Government is building a case for devolved powers to tailor its own immigration policy.

Awaiting the final report

The current approach of the government is somewhat narrow-minded, and the UK needs to agree on a unified approach to protect the overall economy, the business community and countless jobs for individual citizens. It is expected that there will be a final report from the government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) next month, and after ONS predictions that Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish populations would drop in the next 20 years without EU migration, there are sure to be growing calls for reform.

With some regions of northern England having similar projections to Scotland, it seems there are still many questions to be answered about the importance of migration to the UK. The debate continues…

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