Labour must generate awareness, instead of taking a u-turn on immigration
27th September 2011: It’s too late for Labour to take a u-turn on the immigration issue.
Labour leader Ed Miliband just about a day ago said the party ‘got it wrong’ on immigration by introducing a policy allowing hundreds of thousands of foreigners to move to Britain.
What Miliband did not talk about was the endless benefits of immigration to the country’s economy and the UK’s social fabric.
Miliband and so many others, who now wish to cash in on the anti-immigration wave, must realise that government policies are for the benefit of the people, and the nation. They should not be dictated by unsubstantiated and ill-founded beliefs of the voters.
Alright, the people have the right to be heard in a democratic setup. They cannot be denied their fundamental right to have their say in policy matters. But, it is the duty of the powers-that-be to generate awareness and present the true picture to the people, before they seek changes in the existing set up.
Instead of retracing its steps, Labour should look at the criticism the immigration cap has generated among the student community, the businesses and even the law firms.
Even the Liberal Democrats have been claiming the Government’s controversial cap on immigration would harm the economy.
The cap on immigration only recently came under renewed criticism from countries having stake in the UK.
The Ministers were, in fact, cautioned of dire consequences, if they failed to reorganize the policy.
Reports indicate Japanese companies could move out of the UK, as the Government tightens the screws around immigration.
The Japanese Embassy has even told the Government’s Migration Advisory Council MAC that Japanese companies could pull out of the UK.
The Royal Bank of Canada has also warned that a stiff cap could "irrevocably damage Britain’s reputation as an international business hub".
The British business groups too are continuously airing their concern over the direction of Government policy, even as concessions have been made on issues such as intra-company transfers.
Attacking the government’s proposed immigration cap, leading liberal think tank CentreForum cautioned that the changes being brought about could eventually lead to the closure of private colleges.
An independent, liberal think tank seeking to develop evidence based, long term policy solutions to the problems facing Britain, CentreForum said international students at private colleges would find themselves unable to work part-time under the new proposals.
Director and Chief Executive of CentreForum Chris Nicholson had asserted: "The government’s current proposals are destructive and short-sighted.
"International students make a hugely important contribution to Britain’s universities, yet the Home Office’s proposals would effectively bar thousands of them from spending their study time and money here. These students provide an immense financial, cultural and academic contribution to Britain’s universities. It is economic madness crudely to restrict student numbers in this haphazard way.
It’s time for the Government, and Labour, to do some positive rethinking on the issue.