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January 04, 2007

Comments

a

That might work in a 'pure' market. But in reality the market is distorted. If, for example a country A has benefits which are (relatively) high and can be augmented with petty crime or dealing of whatever kind, some natives (X. Y and Z) will prefer to remain unemployed, whereas someone from a country B with lower benefits might decide to move there.

The children of our migrant may then adapt the lifestyle of X, Y and Z - but that's another story.

stu

a

you are falling into the usual trap of presuming all immigrant are criminals or benefit scroungers, where the statistics show (I would need to dig them out) that immigrants in the UK have a higher employment rate than home citizens. Migrants generally move for work. Only a small number of any population chooses to migrate due to a large number of obsticles -it is rarely the work-shy who make the effort.

The problem with the EU market is it's inefficiency in that labour is not as mobile as it should be for a truly single market. (compared, for example, with capital or goods)

Planeshift

"It's: can the state limit immigration better than the market?"

This is an excellent question.

Millions of people travel into the UK through heathrow alone. Many more will arrive through other airports, the tunnel, ports and the road network. The vast majority of these people are tourists, here on business, or british people returning from abroad. To try and distinguish between our own citizens returning from abroad, visitors here temporarily, and those seeking to live here is enormously costly and inefficent. You would have to have a massive bureaucratic system involving expensive IT systems (and we all know how well they have worked elsewhere in government) to check each person arriving, determine whether they are allowed in, then - for tourists and students - ensuring they leave when required. The effects would be to ruin the uk tourist industry as people become fed up of officials harrassing them and filling in forms to get visas, it would increase suspicion of visable minorities as they would constantly have to prove they had a right to be here, would clear the way for authoritarian measures such as ID Cards, and probably require significant tax rises/cuts in other spending. All so Daily Mail readers don't have to live near foreigners.

So go on...explain how you will control immigration in practice?

young man

It can be controlled, but not stopped.

just more vigorously apply the approach we currently use. That is deny access to jobs and welfare to those without valid visas and restrict visas to people from poor countries.

AntiCitizenOne

1/ Auction the right to work in the U.K.
2/ With countries that don't reciprocate free travel, make a U.K. legal entity guarantee the person (i.e. reimburse state for NHS, Jail + Legal costs ) as a condition of entry.
3/ In countries which we have a free travel agreement, make the state in which the citizen originated pay the costs. the UK state will pay for the costs of U.K. citizens abroad.

Planeshift

Lets deal with these in turn:

“more vigorously apply the approach we currently use”

The approach we currently use has failed, more vigorous measures simply mean throwing more resources at a failed approach.

“deny access to jobs and welfare to those without valid visas and restrict visas to people from poor countries.”

How do you enforce this?

NI cards/other documents can be forged, but add a bureaucratic burden to legitimate employers who have to be ready to prove their employees are entitled to be here whilst the black economy remains – by definition – outside the law.

Welfare is already highly restricted, and workers on the black economy don’t claim anyway. One way to reduce the existing bill would be to allow asylum seekers to work legitimately (they currently are banned from working but some do work on the black economy) and thus pay taxes – but again the daily mail types simply move the stereotype from “they are lazy scroungers” to “they are taking our jobs”.

The NHS is the exception, but you can’t really let people die simply for being unable to prove they are entitled to be here. Preventing health tourism on the NHS is an issue, but not one likely to be solved through adding more administration into hospitals.

Anti-citizen one then uncharacteristically supports big government by:

“1/ Auction the right to work in the U.K.”

More bureaucracy, and again doesn’t solve the black economy problem.

“2/ With countries that don't reciprocate free travel, make a U.K. legal entity guarantee the person (i.e. reimburse state for NHS, Jail + Legal costs ) as a condition of entry.”

Not sure I fully understand this – do you mean that in order to be allowed entry a person must have a UK person/group guarantee that the state will be reimbursed for costs? If so you again add bureaucracy, require more checks on people entering the country (i.e increase the cost of immigration controls, the cost of travel – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) and now add additional powers to the state to chase up unspecified costs – assuming you can actually find out this thing.

“3/ In countries which we have a free travel agreement, make the state in which the citizen originated pay the costs. the UK state will pay for the costs of U.K. citizens abroad.”

At least this one has the advantage of being fair, but I suspect trying to enforce it would be difficult to say the least. In any case if another country has to pay the welfare costs of a migrant shouldn’t they also receive the taxation the migrant produces? (even workers on the black economy will pay VAT on goods and services they use) It also requires massive monitoring of each person who comes here, the services they use, their country of origin and then chasing up the payment. Frankly there are easier ways.

All the ideas above simply assume bigger government and more resources can be used to restrict immigration. Even if we assume total competence and compliance, is it really a good use of resources?

a

stu - you have completely misunderstood my post. Maybe I wasn't clear enough. I'm suggesting that immigrant from country B will arrive to work, for a wage which is not attractive to benefit-dependent X, Y and Z, who prefer daytime TV mixed with a bit of theft.

There are approximately 1m unemployed in the UK, while 600,000 Poles have (mostly) found jobs in the last few years. This suggests that the incomers found the wages on offer more attractive than the natives do.

I did however suggest that while our chap from country B will arrive to work, we cannot necessarily assume that his children won't prefer the lifestyle of X,Y and Z.

Not Saussure

I don't quite understand what's meant by 'a free travel agreement' in this context. Do we have one with the USA, for example?

ChrisA

I see lots of parallels between immigration and drug policy. A non-problem for most people but a significant problem for a small minority (drug addicts and those who lose their job to immigrants) becomes an excuse by politicians and statists to expand their powers. The result - a failing for everyone; the majority (they lose freedom, plus pay the cost of implementing the policy) and the small minority (drug addicts still get their drugs, but at a higher cost, people still lose their jobs but to unprotected, hence even cheaper, illegal immigrants).

The problem is that any politician who attempts to change the immigration or drug situation for the better is going to i) reduce his powers and ii) go up against some significant vested interests.

Another point that always bothers me about anti-immigration advocates; what is the moral basis for believing that the natural born population of your country deserve preference (jobs, welfare benefits etc) over those of another country? The argument that we have to restrict immigration to preserve our welfare state just throws this into relief – if the welfare state is there to look after the unfortunate in society, why should that not include foreigners and their children?

dave heasman

"Another point that always bothers me about anti-immigration advocates; what is the moral basis for believing that the natural born population of your country deserve preference (jobs, welfare benefits etc) over those of another country? "

This is something that worries me, too. My grandfather was an agricultural labourer who started work age about 10. He worked all his 80 years except for 4 years off in the Great War. My dad was an electrician, he started work at 12, worked until he was 70, including 5 very dangerous years getting factories back into operation after they'd been bombed. You could say they built this country, made valuable contributions and deserved every benefit the country could provide.
They got nothing of course.
I've spent most of my life dossing, enjoying a well-paid comfortable job, and haven't done a damned thing for the country. I've been cossetted by the welfare state since I was born.

stu

a

sorry for misinterpreting you. I get your point and it probably stands.

However, the problem in your example is not migration. If anything, migration is filling a gap in the market created by the generous welfare state, by carrying out work others are disinclined to do. It is correcting what you have called a distorted market?

Trisha-watching X,Y and Z will carry on regardless, whether or not the migrant takes jobs that they have left vacant - Although they may phone up some day-time tv show to complain that Jonny Foreigner has taken their job!

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