This article was first published on The Commentator.
When discussing the EU referendum, a topic comes up time and time again. That topic is immigration. Some people want more immigration, some people want less. What Get Britain Out wants is an immigration system which is fair, and which is decided by our own democratically elected Parliament on behalf of the constituents our MPs represent.
At the moment we have a deeply unfair immigration system which is, at its heart, discriminatory.
It is a system dictated to us by the EU, which consists of unelected bureaucrats and commissioners in Brussels, overriding the wishes of our own government in Westminster.
As long as the United Kingdom is a member of the EU we are forced to implement the EU’s immigration policy, which requires the free movement of people. This means any EU citizen from the 28 Member States can freely come to the UK. It does not matter if they have previous convictions, a complete lack of skills and no employment prospects — apart from in very exceptional circumstances.
The policy initially meant only ‘workers’ could be granted access, however the expansionist EU Court decided anyone could be described as a ‘worker’. The consequence of this is that anyone from the EU is allowed into the UK, ‘no questions asked’.
Currently, we have no restrictions on migrants coming from the EU; as a result our Government has been forced to unfairly restrict migration from non-EU nations, including the Commonwealth, in order to try and get the overall numbers down. This is an attempt to comply with the Conservative Party’s pledge to get the number of immigrants down to the tens of thousands — a pledge they have been unable to fulfill.
Conservatives have openly acknowledged their inability to meet this pledge whilst we are subject to freedom of movement rules. There is also a worrying suggestion that UK ministers have been hiding the true extent of EU migration. According to official statistics immigration into the UK from the EU totalled 257,000 last year, yet 630,000 people from the EU were given a National Insurance number. There is a clear discrepancy.
In contrast, the Government has applied a strict set of rules relating to migrants coming to the UK from non-EU nations, such as Australia and New Zealand — rules which do not apply to EU nationals under EU law. This means we have different rules and application processes depending on which continent applicants come from.
This is discrimination, pure and simple. If you are a migrant coming from an EU Member State, whether you have something to contribute or not, the message is loud and clear: ‘Welcome, come in.’ If you are a migrant from outside the EU, the message is equally clear: ‘Stay away.’ A doctor from India with relatives who live in the UK has to jump numerous hurdles to travel and work here, but anyone from Europe can come regardless of their background or skills.
This policy is fundamentally unfair. Immigrants should be judged on their individual merits, the content of their character or their possible contribution to our society, not by where they come from.
The reason we have this policy stems from a small-minded view by the EU of migrants from Europe being better than migrants from the rest of the world. People are the same regardless of which continent they come from. This view of European superiority is morally repugnant.
One of the greatest ironies in modern politics is hearing supporters of the EU denigrate Eurosceptics as racist and isolationist. The opposite is true. Eurosceptics want a fair immigration policy which treats people with respect, and gives the final decision on who can come to work and live here to our own elected Government.
We want an outward facing United Kingdom; we don’t want to be a part of an elite gentlemen’s ‘club’, which believes Europeans are superior to people from the rest of the world.
Following Brexit, the UK will no longer be bound by the EU’s free movement rules, unless our Government — which represents the British people — wishes to sign up to it. We would like to see a policy which treats everyone the same, regardless of their country of birth.
Prospective migrants will be judged on the skills and experience they can bring with them, and they will be welcomed if these are beneficial to our country. Applicants with criminal records should be refused entry in all but exceptional circumstances. The passing standard for any migration test can easily be adjusted depending on the circumstances in the country at any given time, resulting in less immigration when our economy and public services are under great strain.
Future Governments may wish to implement an effective cap on the numbers of migrants allowed into the UK. To underline, this can only be made possible by leaving the EU. We do not believe an arbitrary cap is a good policy, as people with the right skills will always benefit the UK; and to refuse them entry because we have reached a certain arbitrary figure seems counterproductive.
A fair and realistic immigration policy will have the added benefit of reducing anti-immigration sentiment in the UK. The Great British Public will be able to decide for ourselves the level of migration into the UK and see its benefits, and not resent the current policy as another failure of the EU.
Whatever the UK’s immigration policy, it should be decided by our own representatives in Westminster. If you disagree with the policy implemented by the Government, you could vote the policy makers out in an election.
We believe in representative Government, accountable to the people every five years in a General Election — not being ruled by the EU via Brussels. If you believe in representative Government too, then you have no option but to vote to Get Britain Out on June 23rd.