Wednesday, 6 July 2016
An Immigration Realisation (for Scotland)
Immigration to Scotland
One of the most interesting divides that currently exists between England and Scotland is the question of immigration. In the instance of this blog entry I won't be talking about "freedom of movement" for UK nationals abroad, I will just be addressing the numbers of people moving to Scotland in particular.
North of the border people rightly see immigration as a good thing, and not to be negatively impacting their society. This is unsurprising when you consider net immigration to Scotland is barely 10,000 people net, per year.
To put that figure into context that is 10% of the net population growth of the City of London over 12 months as a result of immigration. In other words, 100,000 foreign migrants move to London every year where as the population of Scotland only increases 10,000 as a result of immigration.
This kind of population jump in a single city (London) is clearly hard to absorb, and sustain. It results in population displacement, a phenomena called "white flight", although I'd rather call it "Cockney flight". It adds strain to public services, utilities, and housing.
Scotland is desperate for skilled talent to come to the land of haggis and kilts, which quite frankly is understandable for a society that is eager to grow and become self sufficient.
The big problem though is that without a points based immigration system set at Scottish Parliamentary level. They have to rely on net migration spillage over the border to boost their population, and skills set.
One possibility to keep Scotland satisfied post Brexit would be to decentralise the points based system for Scotland in particular to Hollyrood. This would allow them to welcome people in when and where they need it, but obviously it would have to be done under the condition that once in the UK, the people Hollyrood have allowed into the UK are Scotland's responsibility, both lawfully and financially.
The net immigration figure to Scotland, and the tension when it comes to reducing immigration figures becomes more reasonable when you take into consideration this net immigration figure that would drop if the UK drops its number of allowed migrants into the country, which is why allowing them to regulate there own net migration figure will become more important post Brexit and might reduce some of the ammunition the SNP have to call for a Scottish Union exit.
Scottish people do have to realise however that immigration that they have never seen in volume terms north of the border, is happening in other sections of the country.
People are being priced out of work, people are finding it more difficult to get on the property ladder due to increased demand, people are struggling to receive necessary treatment as a result of population growth. There is an increased strain in school places and in the class-room and the transport network is at breaking point in some sections of the country.
One thing Scotland would have to remember in this instance is that anyone allowed into Scotland who moves into England, Wales or Northern Ireland, they would be economically responsible for and responsible for removing from the country if they breach the rules.
Side note on EU residents living in the UK who moved here before the Brexit vote
Over the last few days, Vote Leave campaigners who attempted to assure EU residents of their right to remain in the UK post Brexit have been rather undermined by the potential Conservative Party leader and potential Prime Minister Theresa May, when she was 'less than clear' in terms of the rights of EU citizens who moved to the UK before the Brexit vote, to remain within the UK after the 2 years of Article 50 (leaving process) has been completed.
It has been argued that they (potential Conservative Party leadership under Mrs May) want to keep hold of the dice, as it were, and make sure they can use the future residence of EU citizens as a element of their negotiation to allow British expatriates living in the EU to stay there.
For me, this is inexcusable. The EU migrants living and working in this country need to be reassured as to their future status in this country and told that they are welcome to stay in the UK after Brexit.
Any uncertainty and prevailing upset is simply not worth it as some kind of perverse "bargaining chip" in negotiations.
If we are going to be a moral and responsible country going forwards, we need to take the 'high ground', and I maintain that taking this high-ground, only to be turned down by the EU would leave the EU looking every bit as unpleasant and uncaring as many in the Leave campaign (including myself) think them to be.
We should assure EU residents that they are welcome to remain in the UK putting an end to this uncertainty, and make it absolutely clear to the EU, that if they turn away British residents in the EU zone, that they will be looked upon negatively by not only the UK in the future, but those EU residents who would be made aware of their callousness + nationals within EU member states and the rest of the world.
Greatness as a nation sometimes begins with a nation laying their cards on the table first and being the bigger person in a negotiation.