Full Version: PC 21 - Immigration Reform
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How does the system need reform? Should these reforms look like any other system in particular?

Cycle closes at 23:59 on the 28th of February.
As I've said previously, the immigration system needs to be humane and have the confidence of the British people. That means people who come here for employment, should be allowed to do so provided they have secured offers of 30 hours or more of employment and have accommodation arranged. In general we would look to the Norwegian system to allow for family reunion and to define the accepted reasons for migration to the UK from outside the EU/EEA as well as set the terms for their continued stay in the UK that should include demonstrating that they are learning or already speak English and offer a path to naturalisation. It should also see to it that migrants from outside the EU have to demonstrate that they are meeting the terms that allowed them to come to the UK in the first place or that they meet other legal causes for being here.
I have always said that immigration is a net positive to British society as a whole, but it might put strain on some of our local communities. In this light, I think the call for toughening up our immigration system is entirely appropriate. In fact, I thought this was one of the rare areas of agreement between us and the government. With these legitimate concerns about immigration translating into support for a party which has made a racist caricature out of them, now is not the time to get cold feet. But the fact of the matter is, in this week's PMQs Beth Hunter backpedalled on the clear commitment of Eleanor Manning and Arthur Sweeney to strong immigration reform. We need a sensible system based on ensuring that immigration remains a net positive in our society and our economy, for example by providing skills we need here in Britain. It's vital that we maintain confidence in our immigration system - we need consistency rather than backpedalling. We have always been consistent in our commitment to a sensible and humane but also tough immigration system, and if the government will not show leadership on this matter then we will.
While I strongly agree that immigration is a net positive for the United Kingdom, that doesn't mean our current system is perfect. Of course there are thousands of immigrants who add to our society by creating high-paying jobs, by engaging in entrepreneurship, by serving in our NHS and other community services. What a Conservative immigration policy would do is to ensure each immigrant who seeks to call Great Britain home has the needed skills, education, training, and independent financial support that they will be among the net-contributor immigrants. Labour's latest u-turn on immigration is disappointing, because we should always be looking to build a stronger immigration system with new Britons who are ready to contribute to our society on day 1.
The Liberal Democrats will not u-turn on immigration, nor will we try and play both sides of the argument - we believe that immigration is a good thing for this country, that it enriches our communities, grows our economy, sustains our public services, and contributes to more opportunities for all involved. The system needs to be far better at capturing these benefits, however, and the Liberal Democrats are committed to a firm but fair immigration system - with reintroduced entry and exit checks at our borders and giving border enforcement police powers, ending detention of children in immigration detention centres, moving asylum policy from the Home Office and to a depoliticised independent agency, and focusing deportation efforts on criminals and people traffickers.
This is about immigration for the right reasons. People who want to work and people who can sustain themselves, are welcome in Britain. We should offer every opportunity for people to come here, from anywhere in the world and make a live for themselves. If they want to work, pay into the system, assimilate into their communities and participate in our culture, then they should have every opportunity to come here, to work and to naturalise.

We need stricter labour market controls to address unscrupulous employers using appalling and illegal labour practices to encourage people-trafficking and illegal immigration. We need proper inspection and tougher enforcement against exploitation.

We need to ensure that the rules, terms and requirements that are in place for those who have a right to come to the UK for an extended period of time are adhered to, that the measures we have to deal with instances when they are not are clear, and that we meet our European and International obligations.

Primarily, it is about humanitarianism. I understand why people want to come here and make a better life for themselves and their families, the UK is a fantastic country with fantastic people and public services. To those who want to come and live here, to be part of the UK, I say welcome.