Response to the Government's Immigration White Paper by LRMN

The Government’s recently published immigration white paper proposes a new immigration system which will not distinguish between non-Europeans and EU citizens. Crucially, the white paper does not recognise the vital contributions migrants bring to the UK and puts forward a system which will discriminate against those deemed as “less-skilled”. There is no recognition of the important contribution that those who are “less skilled” make to the economy and society for example in the care sector and hospitality. Workers in sectors such as nursing, social and elderly care, often earning less than the proposed threshold, would be considered low-skills under the new immigration system. We believe migrants to be a vital part of the workforce in the UK and encourage the development of a legal route for low-skilled migrants to find work and settle in the UK.

The Government proposes a new system which priorities earnings, as a £30,000 income threshold is likely to apply to EU migrants seeking to live and work in the UK after Brexit. This policy has been widely criticised by charities and businesses alike as the net contribution of EU migrants, some of which deemed “low-skilled” is necessary to ensure a prosperous and growing UK economy. LRMN deems this policy to be counter-productive to the UK Government’s commitment to building a stronger Britain after Brexit. The white paper’s targeting of EEA Nationals makes little sense in light of the significant drop in EEA migration to approximately 75,000 between June 2016 and June 2018 and increase in non-EEA migration to approximately 250,000 over the same period.

We do however welcome the Government’s commitment to refugee integration as it proposes a continuation of its commitment to Refugee Resettlement Scheme, including the Vulnerable Resettlement Scheme and the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme. We submit that many more vulnerable children need to be included within this figure than is currently the case.

We look forward to learn how the Government’s commitment to ensuring the immigration system is humane will translate into actionable policies and welcome its work on the Windrush Lessons Learned Review and its Immigration detention reform.

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Alessandra Sciarra