In his recent speech at the policy exchange think thank, the UK Immigration Minister, Damian Green, said that Britain only wants the "brightest and the best". He also went on to say that "one of the tasks for the future is shaping the system so that it allows us to be more precisely selective". Green also indicated that getting the number down is the absolute key but that what he is aiming at is "fewer and better". The latest key phrases are, "fewer and better", "precisely selective", and "brightest and best".
Before now the key argument was "cutting immigration down from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands".
Most non EU migrants and interested watchers are familiar with these language adjustments that reflect the mood and policies of UK governments for the past decade. The language, mood, and attitude had previously changed from humanism to robust, discretion to stringent, fairness to tightening, courteous to regiment, Commonwealth to non-EU, assessment to point based system, present to retrogressive effect, directorate to agency, and hospitality to deportation.
The UK Immigration Agency is also armed with ever changing immigration rules that are retrogressively executed most of the time. It is also equipped with officers with menacing steel handcuffs jangling on their waists. The situation is so worrying that some prisons are now exclusively reserved for "foreign criminals". Even the prison-like detention centres are expanding rapidly with government always boasting of the ability to increase capacity.
The honorable minister's phrases of "fewer and better", "precisely selective", and "brightest and best", sounds like sifting the grain from the chaff; a complete display of contempt for vulnerable immigrants. The policy only seeks to poke and tap the few vital talents from non-EU countries; talents that these impoverished countries need so much, they cannot develop without them. The instrument for doing this remains the adapted Australian style points based system. It was this same instrument that netted about 49,000 Highly Skilled Migrants under the now scrapped HSMP.
This group of HSMP participants won two high profile cases against the Home Office because of maltreatment and illegal retrogressive application of immigration rules, by the defunct Labour government. It is also this category of skilled migrants that the immigration minister has now expressly declared unwanted. According to him "Britain does not need more migrant middle managers any more than it needs unskilled labour".
A great number of immigrants already in the system are made destitute by the ever-changing immigration laws, rules, and policies. It is not because they have no talent, but because they have been overrun and overtaken by some sort of cruel immigration game, that discriminates and changes the goal post all the time. Consequently a large chunk of black and Asian immigrants are made destitute, harangued, jailed, detained, abused and many a time, deported.
While UK government emphasises the importance of keeping families together, there is a complete different rule for immigrant families. According to Mr Green, "Whether you come here to work, study, or get married, we as country are entitled to check that you will add to the quality of life in Britain". This unfortunate statement not only wrongly presupposes that non-EU immigrants are not contributing to quality of life in UK, but also puts conditionality for family unity and cohesion, in blatant violation of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.
It is evident that there are no race impact assessments of these fluid policies.
The UK and other EU countries have dual responsibilities to both the EU and their former colonies (Commonwealth). The UK should attempt to live to her responsibilities to both the EU and the Commonwealth, and should treat immigrants from Commonwealth countries with greater respect.