What’s on the cardsFollowing the government’s ‘tough talk’ on immigration policy, this consultation sends out a stark message to migrants. Perhaps you’d imagined that coming to the UK for work would be difficult, but that at some point this hard graft would result in the possibility of attaining more security, and maybe even in becoming a citizen and settling here. Far from it, if this set of proposals is put into practice.
For most skilled workers coming here in the future, it simply won’t matter how hard you work or how much your employer or community values you in the UK. Unless you are one of a lucky few, this government will require you to leave the UK after a maximum of five years, no questions asked. Domestic workers and people coming here for arts, music or sport under Tier 5 also come under fire in these proposals, and now face a significant withdrawal of rights.
We know all too well that the government is trying to reduce migration levels to the UK however possible. But this set of measures sidesteps the legitimate interests and expectations of migrant workers coming to the UK, reflecting the view that migrants should be treated as economic units rather than people.
Responding to the consultationSo why should you take the time now to respond to this consultation? We can think of three good reasons:
These proposals do not make sense – and would be likely to backfire.The migration process is an investment for those who come here, and it must offer something to people in return. Whichever way you look at it, reducing the options for migrant workers to settle here would be likely to make the UK a less appealing, and more divided, place to be. We know that the UK will continue to need the contribution of migrant workers, so it is illogical to offer so little reward to people who come here to work.
These proposals would make some migrants much more vulnerable.The government clearly takes the view that the more rules there are, the more compliance there will be. Unfortunately, it is likely that these proposals will increase irregularity among some migrants, because the boundaries which are being set do not make sense. In particular, proposals which would reduce the rights of migrant domestic workers would take the government back by a decade in terms in our approach towards this vulnerable group of workers.
By responding to this consultation you can tell the government where it is going wrong. The government is proposing measures which would have a serious impact on most people coming to work in the UK in the future. Responding to the consultation is not the only way to tell the government when you don’t agree, but it is an important one. Plus, everyone can respond to consultations, whether they are British or not – this means that migrants can also have a voice. This is a chance for us all to speak out together so don’t pass up the chance!