If ‘the cap fits, wear it’ goes the saying – but this cap will fit less than 12% of those seeking to enter the United Kingdom.
In her Commons statement yesterday, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced a cap of 21,700 on the number of skilled workers from outside the EU.
It was a good sound bite which gave the impression that there would only be an extra 21,700 new pairs of feet scuffling for a foothold in the crowded UK.
There were exemptions, naturally. Those earning over £24,000 and staying less than a year – and those transferred by overseas employers, which immediately leaves the cap at the mercy of commercial decisions made by non-UK companies.
Moreover ‘skilled workers’ does not include the many non-EU relatives who arrive to join families already living here, nor students arriving – and possibly overstaying their visa for British University courses, nor, of course, asylum seekers or residents of the 27 member countries of the EU.
It would seem that the cap only fits that sector of the world population which is possibly the last sector we should be seeking to exclude – those with skills who wish to exercise those skills for commercial gain in the UK.
Yet the MSM media this morning is hailing the ‘Migration Cap’ as sound policy?
The politicians have correctly deduced that the electorate is alarmed and annoyed by the large number of people they perceive as ‘foreign’ – by dress or colour – that appear to be first in the queue for the various services that the UK taxpayer pays dearly for, health, housing, and education.
So they proudly announce that they will in future limit those migrants – a skilled US banking analyst for instance – who is more likely to be buying a million pound house in Surbiton than joining the queue for social housing?
The root of the problem is Britain’s adherence to the old tenet of free school, free education, free housing, and generous benefits to anyone who manages to set foot in the UK, which has attracted economic migrants from across the globe, ensuring that they by-pass other European countries in the rush to enter Britain.
The politicians do not have the courage to address this sacred cow – and so insult us with sound bites which give the impression that they are ‘doing something’, when all they are doing is limiting the one group of ‘foreigners’ that actually enhance this country.
I have never bought the argument that ‘foreigners are taking our jobs’ – there is no employer who would willingly take on a person who has just arrived here, barely speaks English and has not yet settled their accommodation and children’s schooling in preference for a settled local employee – unless, unless…
Either that employee is not prepared to give up their benefits for a lowly paid job, or the ‘foreigner’ is prepared to work illegally for less than the minimum wage.
Which gives us two possible methods of solving the problem. Remove the minimum wage – so that firms which are prepared to flout the clout rules have no commercial advantage, and reduce the time for which benefits are payable to accord with the time you have spent in work. If you have only worked for three months in your life time – you are only entitled to three months benefits.
If you have never worked, best you get out there picking carrots with the best of them – you do not need expensive ‘retraining’ and ‘counselling and support’ to figure out how to pull a carrot out of the ground.
I have a friend here in France whose income from her modest gite has dwindled to nothing in the present economic condition and her basic pension of £90 slashed in value by exchange rates. She is 72 years old, a slight figure, and spends at least three days a week manhandling a heavy commercial grass cutter across acres of fields in return for a pittance but she prefers it to gutting chickens and considers herself fortunate to be able to supplement her pension. Keeps her fit too.
But then in France she has no alternative – benefits here are closely tied to the amount you have paid into the ‘benefit pot’ not to the fact that you happen to have set foot in the country. Until the UK has the courage to take the same approach sound bites such as a ‘Migration Cap’ will remain just so much hot air.