Joshua Mackenzie-Lawrie from Get Britain Out argues that immigration only works when those coming here have the skills necessary to fill the gaps.

Since the early 2000s the United Kingdom has experienced a downward trend towards struggling public services and a housing shortage. In the aftermath of the 2008 crash and a booming population – heavily increased by a large influx of immigration – mismanagement of our public finances has placed our public services under huge strain.

Immigration has, of course, had some massive benefits for the country. However, these have been when those coming here have had the high-level skills required to fill expertise gaps within Britain. At present, as a result of the European Union’s policy of Freedom of Movement (FoM), as a country we are unable to establish whether those coming into the UK from the EU have the skills to improve our country. Those pushing for FoM to continue after Brexit still refuse to face these facts. Instead of having a real conversation about the contribution of immigration towards major failings across the UK’s public services, many chose to blame problems on austerity instead. Blame which is fundamentally misplaced.

Since the introduction of FoM, the EU – and its advocates – have heavily promoted this policy. It’s hardly surprising, when the majority of countries – with the exception of the UK and Germany – have seen a relatively small change to their net migration figures. For example, the UK was supposed to be taking a harder line on immigration since 2010, yet the net immigration figure is around 2.3 million. This is drastically more than some of the other major European countries. During the same period, the net immigration level for France is around 487,000; Spain has had negative net migration of around 284,000. 

This disparity, coupled with the economic hardship caused by the global economic crash of 2008, paints the picture as to the key problem with the EU and their current mentality in the Brexit negotiations. Many EU Member States simply do not understand the perspective and experience of the UK and its people whilst being inside the EU. This is a fact not aided by the insistence by many within the Parliamentary Labour Party to ignore constituents’ legitimate concerns over immigration, in favour of their metropolitan voter base within many of our cities.

Migrants entering the UK, have, by and large, immediately been able to take advantage of the benefits system in the UK. However, they have crucially not had time to earn money and pay taxes here which fund services, such as the NHS, housing and child benefits, which they utilise. This ‘benefits tourism’ cannot continue, and there must be a more effective system for ensuring those who come into this country contribute to a level whereby they have paid into the system they – and their families – intend to use.

It is therefore vital we Leave the EU on October 31st and push forward with the plans proposed by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, to implement a points-based immigration system, similar to the one in place in Australia. This would allow us to gain the full benefits of a good immigration policy to help improve our country and take advantage of the global opportunities after Brexit.  

We need to stop blaming Governments who are trying to manage the economy responsibly, and focus on implementing policies on immigration which don’t overload our public services and allow our country to prosper. There should be access to good quality public services and housing, whilst still filling the ‘skills gap’ which exists in some crucial sectors of our economy. If MPs could remove themselves from their ‘Westminster Bubble’ even for a moment, they would see the Great British Public want to Get Britain Out of the EU by October 31st, so the real issues within our country can be addressed, free from European Union restrictions. 

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