Immigrants With Appropriate Skills Will Be Required For UK

21 Feb 2013


Immigration News

Immigration to UK is a legitimate concern and the government should engage in a productive public debate rather than make unworkable suggestions about imposing restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians. In a time of deep economic crisis and austerity in Europe, migration and its impacts remain firmly in the spotlight in the United Kingdom. Citizens of Romania and Bulgaria will have the freedom to work anywhere within the European Union in January 2014, which has prompted fears of an influx of immigrants coming to the UK. The rise in population in the UK, and the pace of change in recent years, has been accompanied by legitimate concerns from British people about the pressures that migration can put on society.

Public concern about immigration has been persistently high in Britain, with immigration placed by the public in the top three issues facing the nation since 1997. Negative stories about migrants frequently feature in the British media and some politicians find migrants an easy culprit for the failures of the state and markets. In recent weeks the debate has focused on Romania and Bulgaria with much discussion of the 'guessing game' about the numbers of migrants likely to come to the UK.

Making unworkable suggestions about imposing on-going restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians is not conducive to a productive public debate. Migration brings challenges, but it has many benefits too. Migrants play an invaluable role in many sectors within the UK. Rather than spending political energy debating the likely scale of immigration from Bulgaria and Romania next year, UK politicians and policymakers should spend their time promoting a fairer and more inclusive society and supporting a more balanced and transparent debate around the impact that this migration will have on the UK.

It is true that the UK government cannot limit migration from Romania and Bulgaria under EU rules, but it can and should take steps to ease the local impacts of such migration – for example through targeted inclusion policies – and the underlying pressures that make people  nervous about UK immigration.


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