• Thursday, June 20, 2024


Immigration not making country ‘richer’: Ex-minister

Former Tory minister Robert Jenrick wants the Home Office to be split and a new department be created to focus on border control

Britain’s former minister for immigration Robert Jenrick (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

By: Shajil Kumar

Former Tory minister Robert Jenrick said that immigration was not making Britain “richer” and called for reducing the number of people coming to the country to make it more cohesive and united.

Jenrick had quit as immigration minister in December after prime minister Rishi Sunak defied his calls to go further on tackling illegal and legal migration.

In a report he co-authored with former housing minister Neil O’Brien for the Centre for Policy Studies, Jenrick has called for splitting the Home Office and creating a department focused on border control.

Jenrick pointed out that throughout Britain’s history, migrants have added to its culture, but he said the high migration in the past few years has put “immense pressure” on housing and public services. He said the large numbers of people coming into the country also makes integration impossible.

Jenrick and O’Brien argued that the recent levels of migration had failed to deliver the economic and fiscal benefits promised, such as fuelling GDP growth, filling labour shortages, and boosting tax revenue.

The report also found discrepancies between different nationalities in their contribution to productivity. Migrants aged 25-64 from the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey were almost twice as likely to be economically inactive as someone born in the UK.

This contrasted with the overall productivity of migrants, who tend to be economically more active than the average British citizen.

There was also a wide variation in the earnings and tax contributions. Migrants from Canada, Singapore, Australia, France, and the US are more likely to earn more and pay higher taxes than those from Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Somalia.

Jenrick advocates creating a new Department of Border Security and Immigration Control, which would focus on migration policy. The rest of the Home Office’s responsibilities should be covered by a new Department for Policing and National Security.

Jenrick and O’Brien stated in the report that the overhaul would be an opportunity to bring in a different culture into the Home Office. They said that in its present form, the Home Office is too unwieldy to deal with these challenges.

The report advocates 36 recommendations that include capping health and care visas at 30,000, scrapping the graduate route for international students, and indexing salary thresholds for visa routes in line with inflation.

Jenrick, who is expected to be a contender for the Conservative leadership after the election, said Sunak should implement his plans to win back voters.

He felt the Rwanda scheme would be ineffective and wanted Britain to reduce legal and illegal migration.

Jenrick felt the Conservative government should use the time before the general election to undo the effects of disastrous post-Brexit liberalisation.

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