The overseas immigrants who move to Britain post-Brexit will be the ones chosen by the UK and immigration numbers would lower. The statistics revealed by the government this week reveals that the number of net immigrants to the UK was 335,000. This is three times the number to which the government aims to reduce immigration.
In a very familiar manner, the ritual that is played every quarter is now being repeated. While expressing dissatisfaction at its performance, the government has reaffirmed its resolve to decrease the number of immigrants. The mantra of sustainable immigration numbers is repeated something that is being done every quarter for the last six years.
The stakeholders in the corporate sector have challenged the target to reduce immigration as illogical and impractical. In fact, they even protest in a very low tone that the only issue they have with immigration is that the numbers must be much more than the current strength of migrants.
Immigration debate on net migration has acquired totemic symbol in the recent years. It will not be easy to predict the choice of policies and politics that will be viable in the forthcoming two years. It would, however, be similar to a war like situation, difficult to predict clear outcomes.
If immigration to the UK remains unreduced despite the hue and cry over net migration target it will be history rewritten. In fact, it is entitled to be the most substantial policy failure of the government of Britain since the Suez issue. The consequences of the immigration issue have been equally significance that changed the Prime Minister of the UK and the equation of European Union with the exit of Britain.
In fact, it is ironical that David Cameroon had to leave Downing Street because of the failure of his own Home Secretary. She was, on the other hand, elevated to the office of the Prime Minister owing to the failure of her flagship policy on immigration, as quoted by the Telegraph.
The present scenario demands that the choices on the issue of immigration will have to be practical. The free movements across EU will no longer stay while it is ambiguous whether the rules will be same for European and non-EU immigrants.
The forthcoming period for UK and Europe is very fluid. It will not be possible for anyone to predict the economic future of Europe or Britain, the valuation of the pound over Polish zloty and a range of issues that will impact the global bilateral policies.
Mere bickering over unachievable targets every quarter will not serve to provide any direction to the whole debate of net migration reduction. It is not possible for any stakeholders to arrive at a consensus over the appropriate level of immigration for Britain in the future that is 2020-25.
On the other hand, the legal framework for immigration can be used to have a tougher approach to immigrants with lower skills while giving easier options for overseas students and skilled immigrants.
This will also facilitate to balance the geography of immigrants to Britain amongst Europeans, developing nations and Commonwealth nations.
The manner in which restraint has to be exercised to address immigration has been the central focus of the debate over tackling migration. Irrespective of the choices made over immigration in terms of politics and policies, it will help to arrive at clarity in this defining moment of British immigration. The immigrants who will be allowed to arrive in the UK will be the ones chosen by the nation itself.
Every stakeholder in the immigration debate must ensure that the immigrants who are permitted to come to the UK must be the ones who contribute to the growth of British society and economy.