You may have seen that there’s been a bit of a debate going on, not only within Westminster, but down the pub, amongst the papers and within your family about the European Union and the nature of the UK’s departure from it.
The latest piece of news on this is that a draft government document regarding immigration post-Brexit has been leaked. There are millions of EU nationals living, working, learning, loving and with families here in the UK, so what happens to them regarding immigration is of unshakable importance.
The paper, entitled ‘Border, Immigration and Citizenship System After the UK Leaves the European Union’, is dated August 2017 and spans 81 pages. The key points are as follows:
- There will be a phased withdrawal of ‘at least 2 years’
- Income requirements
- ‘to be considered valuable to the country as a whole, immigration should benefit not just the migrants themselves but also make existing residents better off’
- ‘UK employers should look to meet their labour needs from resident labour’
- Permits for most EU workers will last up to 2 years
- ‘We may also wish to tighten up the definition of a family member from its current meaning’
- ‘reducing the opportunity for workers to settle long-term in the UK and to bring their dependents’
According to the Telegraph ‘two of her (May’s) most senior ministers distanced themselves from leaked immigration policies amid a backlash from Brussels and business leaders’. Employers like Travelodge and organisations like the British Hospitality Association have already called these plans ‘catastrophic’, whilst Theresa May defended the draft proposal by saying in her first PMQs since the summer recess that ‘it (immigration) often hits those at the lower end of the income scale hardest’.
This is what is wrong about Brexit, the fact that ‘Philip Hammond … has been pushing for the government to listen more to companies’ concerns about Brexit’. But why are we asking big business ahead of people? The answer is, because we operate under an economy that is solely focused on growth. However, borders need to be crossed if what you desire is growth, so why then this focus on one national market? Many ‘unskilled’ EU workers are what big employers want as they are cheap and, as is the case with McDonalds and Sports Direct, can be exploited by zero-hours contracts.
Amongst other sectors, The National Farmers’ Union said that an abrupt drop in the number of EU workers able to work in the UK would cause:
‘massive disruption to the entire food supply chain’ … worth £109bn and employing 3.8 million people’.
Brexit is the manifestation of the frustrations held by many working-class people. These people feel left behind by a globalised economy that pampers those at the top and replaces those at the bottom with the cheapest workers it can find.Yet workers are not the ones responsible for Brexit. It is the wealthy Brexiteers who are a disgrace to the UK. They are a disgrace because they have plenty of money, money they have acquired through an economy that demands cheap globalised labour.
So families face the prospect of being broken up. Workers face being sent back to the country written on their passport — losing the opportunity to provide for their families here. And relationships and friendships will be torn apart, with prospective students missing the chance to study and enrich their minds at the UK’s education institutions.
And why? Because of some measly strung-together economic arguments and the fact that we got caught up in a heat-of-the-moment romance with superficial national pride, while under the covers of St. George’s flag.
Short of entering some Children of Men-esque dystopia, immigration will literally continue forever. Instead of regulating the movements of the poorer strands of society, let us regulate corporations, multi-millionaire tax avoiders and an economy that is exploiting the people and the Earth.