View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. UK Politics
19 February 2020updated 30 Jul 2021 12:13pm

Boris Johnson’s immigration policy is a recipe for chaos

Instead of chasing headlines, ministers should focus on building a fair immigration system that works for our economy and treats everyone with dignity and respect.

So, the Conservatives have finally decided what they mean by a “points-based immigration system”. They want to assively restrict the ability of UK employers to hire the workers they need. Impose reams of additional red tape on both businesses and individuals. Expose thousands more people to the nasty “hostile environment”. Rush these changes into force in just ten months. And put it all in the hands of the discredited, dysfunctional Home Office.

It’s a recipe for chaos.

These Conservative immigration proposals will be a disaster for the small businesses that power the UK economy. Many are already struggling to hire the workers they need, and now the Tories want to stop them recruiting anyone from abroad who doesn’t meet their arbitrary salary threshold. As if the contributions people make to our society and our economy are measured merely by home much they are paid.

This will lead to huge shortages in the construction and hospitality sectors, and make the existing social care crisis even worse. These sectors have benefited hugely from EU free movement. Tens of thousands of EU citizens build our homes, staff our hotels and cafés and care for people who are old, sick or have disabilities.

The Tories regularly boast that unemployment is at its lowest rate in more than 40 years. There simply aren’t queues of British people waiting to take on those jobs. So who will do them? The Government has no answer.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

The Conservatives’ insistence on their arbitrary salary threshold will be especially bad for parts of the country outside London and the South East, where earnings are generally lower. Employers there will find it particularly hard to recruit from abroad. It will also hit women particularly hard, given the Tories’ refusal to make allowances for part-time workers with lower annual salaries, most of whom are women.

All of this makes it clear: these Tory polices are based on xenophobia, not the social and economic needs of our country.

To make things worse, ten months is nowhere near enough time for either employers or the Home Office to get ready for these new rules and all the extra bureaucracy they will bring. Only 2 per cent of employers currently sponsor visas for non-EU nationals. Thousands more would now have to do so when hiring EU citizens, and spend huge amounts of time and money grappling with the Home Office’s complex, costly system.

Far from restoring public confidence in the immigration system, this will just cause chaos and confusion. The Liberal Democrat approach couldn’t be more different. We must welcome people who choose to come to the UK to work. They make enormous contributions to our society, our economy and our communities, and we should celebrate that.

Instead of chasing headlines with their unworkable plans, the government must focus on building a fair immigration system that works for our economy and treats everyone with dignity and respect.

Christine Jardine is the Home Affairs spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats

Content from our partners
Labour's health reforms can put patients first
Data science can help developers design future-proof infrastructure
How to tackle the UK's plastic pollution problem – with Coca-Cola

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU