Wednesday 16 November 2011

Another mind-bendingly bad policy on immigration

I don't have much to say about this proposed policy that would prevent British citizens bringing foreign-born spouses or children into the UK on family visas unless they are making over the median wage. Just that, for anyone familiar with people who have become married whilst overseas, and who then move home to find work, you're basically telling them that they cannot live with their spouses and children permanently in their own home country until they earn more than 50% of the British population.

These policies are usually suggested on the Goldilocks principle - a horribly excessive policy is suggested in order to get people to accept a less strict policy. Therefore it seems likely that if any such policy is implemented, it will set the bar somewhat lower.

However, even such a "just right" version of this policy would be a failure because the British government can no longer restrict immigration from mainland Europe. Such a policy would, anyway, only prevent people entering the country legally, without having any effect on illegal immigration.


Keir said...

I'm a second generation Brit whose family came from the UK and who flies the flag (just check out my classroom at but found my son can't apply for citizenship. Bit of a problem as he was born in Germany, wife is Chinese (no way in hell I'd have him become a mere subject of the Chinese state) and was forced to take a Canadian passport. On the one hand I'm glad the UK is finally taking immigration seriously, though about 30 million people too late, but it's galling for someone who intends to raise his son, Drake Winston, to be proud of his British heritage.

Gilman Grundy said...

Keir - Haven't seen you around since Sinocidal days, how do?

Personally, I've always been in favour of immigration being as free as possible without causing mass transfers of population. I don't think a country like the UK should be afraid of hundreds of thousands of people coming to live and work there every year, not least because hundreds of thousands of Brits go to other countries to do the same every year.

I think your case is an obvious example of where our current law serves to turn away would-be British citizens and alienate their present ones. A requirement that someone be making over the average salary before they can even bring their family into the country would be even worse in this regard.

This is the first I have heard of a British father not being able to pass his citizenship on to his children and am very sorry that this is the case. I assume that this is due to the new (1983) law that means that only someone born in the UK can pass on their citizenship to their children. When you compare this to the rather more liberal approach of the Republic of Ireland you can see that their approach certainly has its advantages - many would-be Irish have taken the advantage of having a Irish grandparent to obtain citizenship of the Republic and the Irish have benefited from this, not least on the sports field.