Finding a clear answer from any of the political parties running for office in the UK about their stance on immigration is not always an easy task. So here’s a run down of what the candidates for Downing Street are down for.
Finding a clear answer from any of the political parties running for office in the UK about their stance on immigration is not always an easy task. The response is usually a barrage of sound bites offering up a vague utopian image of a multicultural Britain that provides employment for British citizens but with no tangible solutions or strategies on how to achieve this. So here’s a run down of what the candidates for Downing Street are down for.
Prime Minister Cameron gives the perfect example of a vague, hardly controversial image, by stating the importance of the UK “to continue to be a successful multi-racial country that celebrates the diversity that we have here in the United Kingdom”. However, it was under Cameron and the Conservatives that the Tier 1 General Visa program called the “Highly Skilled Migrant Programme” and the Post-Study Work Visa for students educated in the UK to search for post-study employment both ended, cutting down immigration for those outside the EU. The Conservatives’ plan now is to control “benefits” tourism and “healthcare” tourism in favour of working migrants. Additionally, they pledge to control illegal immigration by restricting access to work, housing and benefits. Lastly, they want to create a new citizenship test that has “British values at its heart”.
Labour has taken the side of the higher education sector in protection of international students, arguing that cuts in this sector would hurt this £12 billion industry. Although they still use vague language, Labour are interested in increasing the number of border control officers, cutting down illegal immigration and plan to “tackle abuse” from individuals in the country as well as those trying to get in.
The Lib Dems have proudly stated that they have cut immigration by a third and pledge to cut down illegal immigration using a “firm but fair” system by introducing exit checks to monitor who is leaving the country as well as those who have overstayed their visa. Additionally, they plan on creating more stringent English language requirements for immigrants as well as accompanying partners. They also state that they do not want to implement caps on international students coming to the UK to study.
Unsurprisingly, UKIP has an extensive immigration plan because of their stance that the UK should exit the EU. They want to create a points-based system similar to that of Australia based on principles of “equal application” which would remove preferences of EU citizens over non-EU citizens. Additionally, they want to reduce immigration to 50,000, which is, to put it politely, an ambitious feat.
For the Green party, the issue of immigration is viewed from an ecological viewpoint, which acknowledges that people are highly likely to be displaced by the adverse effects of climate change such as resource degradation, as well as increasing global populations. They propose to reduce barriers to immigration and even plan to let illegal immigrants remain in the country except for those who pose a dangerous risk to themselves or others.