Today, Dr Liam Fox, Member of Parliament for North Somerset delivered a speech on immigration to the Reform think tank in Westminster. Highlights from the speech include the myth that immigration is primarily a problem relating to the European Union, when in fact EU migration actually make up less than one third of Britain’s total immigration figures. The demands of business for new skilled labour clash with issues of social and cultural balance and how other countries, such as Australia and Canada manage immigration.
Dr Liam Fox MP: British Economy is expected to create 1.25 million more Jobs
During the speech, Senior Tory Liam Fox agreed with David Cameron’s insistence on cutting net migration, but stated that he believed that the issue was not as straight forward as putting a target number on the amount of people allowed in the UK.
Fox, referenced a recent UK Government report, revealing that the the British economy is expected to create 1.25 million more jobs in the decade ending in 2020. With the most significant increases in higher-level occupations, such as managers, directors and senior officials (around 544,000 more, an 18 per cent increase), the professions (some 869,000 more, a 15 per cent increase), and associated professional and technical occupations (around 551,000 more, a 14 per cent increase). Fox commented on the lack of skills in the UK to fill these roles.
Fox, blamed the UK’s educational system for this and stated that he believed that foreign nationals are needed to fill these posts. He suggested that the UK should adopt the Australian model to deal with immigration that comes from outside the EU;
“But let’s be very frank, if we are going to ensure that those with the necessary skills for our economy are more able to come to the United Kingdom, then the corollary will be that the numbers of those who come here, as part of our social or cultural migration will need to be curtailed. What I am proposing is, again, an open and shut policy: more open to those who have the skills that we will need to maintain our prosperity and place in the world and more closed to those who, for whatever reason, would end up placing a burden on our welfare system and national infrastructure.”
‘Open and Shut’ UK Immigration Policy
The Senior Tory, explained his notion of the ‘open and shut’ policy. He explained that the UK immigration policy needed to be re-evaluated to allow those who would be useful to the UK economy and not allow those who come to the UK, ‘absorb our national wealth rather than helping to create it.’
He went on to further explain:
“We must develop policy that ensures that we are not turning away workers we need. Many of these will be skilled workers, a group currently in danger of being choked off, but it may ultimately mean unskilled labour too. In short, I believe that we need to have what we might call an ‘open and shut’ immigration policy. That is, an approach that is open to those who are economically active and have the skills our economy requires but closed to those who will become dependent on the state or who possess skills we do not require for our economic well-being.”
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