Wednesday 15 January saw a packed Committee Room 12 in the Palace of Westminster as MAX (Movement Against Xenophobia) held a Parliamentary meeting to alert Lords to the insidious qualities of the Immigration Bill, coming their way from the Commons in the near future.
Timing the meeting proved to be a challenge as the Bill, previously flying through Parliament at an alarming rate was stalled before Xmas by a right-wing amendment placed by Tory backbenchers wanting to use the bill as leverage in their UK out of Europe campaign. So, without any avaialble date for the report / third reading in the Commons, let alone a second reading in The Lords, we pressed ahead with the meeting, which was addressed by a formidable panel of experts:
At the end of the year, we thought we'd take a little time to reflect and give others the chance to have their say. Our friends at Migrant Voice asked seven of their members from different parts of the world to give their thoughts - on their own stories or on the immigration 'debate' in the UK. They've allowed us to republish the articles here, so we'll start off with Sabir Zazai, who came here from Afghanistan in 1999.
The Immigration Bill has been held up purportedly by an amendment supported by over 60 MPs requiring the restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers be extended until 2018.
This is the oddest sort of political posturing we have seen in a long time. This amendment has no place in the Immigration Bill, the Government has no legal power to extend the restrictions, it is treaty bound to lift them after 7 years on 1st January 2014, even if the amendment was added to the Bill and the Government was able to extend the restrictions, by the time the Bill becomes an Act, allowing the provision to be implemented – it hasn’t left the House of Commons yet - 1st January 2014 will have come and gone.
Happy Human Rights Day!
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
If you have caught sight of The Express or Daily Mail recently you will be forgiven for thinking that come the 1st of January 2014 Britain is going to be overrun by unprecedented numbers of Bulgarians and Romanians. Migration Watch has added to the furore by producing 3 sets of estimates claiming approximately 50,000 A2 nationals will arrive a year in the five years after 2013 with its upper prediction being 70,000 a year. Migration Watch’s figures are based on incorrect assumptions and look at trends based on the arrival of Polish migrants rather than those from other Eastern European countries such as Hungary, Slovenia or the Czech Republic where the numbers have been insignificant.
This article, written by JCWI's Communications and Campaigns officer was written for and originally appeared on the Media Reform Coalition website.
First, the crime.
Journalists and editors wishing to make sensationalist headlines, playing lose with the facts and not bothering to even think things through let alone get their premise confirmed. So two reports state there are 600,000 economically inactive EU migrants living in the UK. The EU, who commissioned the reports conclude there was relatively little to prove the significant impact of ‘benefit tourism’ which has been a premise for Government immigration policy.
JCWI Chief exec, Habib Rahman, recently participated in a panel discussion as part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas with Michael Kitson (Sen. Lecturer, St. Catharine's College, Cambridge University), Dr. Sarah Fine (Kings College, London) and David Goodhart (Demos). The discussion was chaired by Prof. Loraine Gelsthorpe (Pembroke College, University of Cambridge) The event was well received and we reprint Habib's speech below.
One remarkable feature of the Immigration Bill 2013 currently proceeding through Parliament at present is the speed of progress it is making. The opposition attributed its abstention from the second reading vote on the fact they hadn’t had the time to properly consider the Bill.
The first reading of the Bill took place on 10 October, just twelve days later (there’s usually about twice that time) the Bill got its second reading. The committee stage started just two days after that. The committee stage itself is scheduled to last less than three weeks. It is substantially faster than what can usually be expected.
It will come as no great surprise to readers of this blog that immigrants make a "substantial" contribution to the public finances of the UK. Over the last decade migrants have made a £25billion net contribution to the exchequer. Today this has been confirmed by the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London (UCL). CReAM has issued two discussion papers on the financial effects of immigration, one focussed on Public Finances. The Migration Research Unit at UCL, meanwhile, focusses on the Government’s use of net migration as a tool for setting goals in migration policy. They’ve managed to create quite a splash in the media, because they all contradict what the government and most of the media are arguing.
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