Boris Unveils New Immigration Policy on Facebook Live

In another sign of the changing times, Boris has become the first Prime Minister to announce a new policy to the nation from his desk via Facebook Live. Scheduled to hit commuters on the way home and in time for the evening news. Boris is introducing an immigration rule-change to make the UK “even more welcoming” to scientists from around the world. Global Brexit starting to take shape under someone who actually believes in it…

UPDATE: Note the bus in the background. Cue conspiracy theories…

UPDATE II: We’ve now learned the details: Boris wants boffins to be able to avail themselves of a new fast-track visa to come to the UK as easily as possible. Boris’s policy is “to ensure the UK is the most attractive country to live in and develop new ideas”, he is set to discuss a range options with leading institutions and universities including:

  • Abolishing the cap on numbers under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas
  • Expanding the pool of UK research institutes and universities able to endorse candidates
  • Creating criteria that confer automatic endorsement, subject to immigration checks
  • Ensuring dependents have full access to the labour market
  • Removing the need to hold an offer of employment before arriving
  • Accelerated path to settlement

The plan is to launch the new visa later this year…

Cambridge University Invents Vegetable-Harvesting Robot

Remoaner engagement with the post-Brexit immigration debate rarely gets beyond calling Leave voters fascists and complaining “but who will do all the jobs I don’t want to do like fruit and vegetable picking?” Not all scientists have been moaning about it, some have actually been getting on with coming up with novel technological solutions. Basic economics, if the supply of low-skilled labour is reduced it will increase the incentives for new technologies to be invented instead…

One company recently developed a fruit-picking robot that can pick raspberries more than 66% faster than humans. Now Cambridge University have invented a prototype which uses machine learning to do the much more delicate task of picking iceberg lettuces. Harvesting of crops like wheat and potatoes has been mechanised for years, now the researchers say that their new robot can adapt to pick other fragile above-ground crops which have proved much more of a challenge to pick with robots so far. It can even selectively pick only crops that are ripe, avoiding the waste when unripe crops are picked by hand and then thrown away. Helping to move low-skilled workers out of backbreaking menial jobs while making farming more efficient in the process…

Britain Most Positive Country in Europe About Immigration

Despite non-stop claims from the embittered metropolitan elite that Brexit represents the “rise of the far right”, the latest pan-European YouGov study has revealed that Brits are actually more positive about immigration than any other major European country.  Britain is both the most Eurosceptic and the most pro-immigration nation. But Brexiteers are still worse than Nazis, right…

28% of Brits believed that the benefits of immigration outweighed the costs, compared to only 24% of Germans and Spaniards and just 21% in France. 37% said that the costs outweighed the benefits, but this was less than every other country surveyed apart from Poland. Over 40% of French and Germans said immigration was a net negative, almost 49% were opposed in supposedly liberal Sweden…

The biggest factor for Brits was whether people had a job offer or not – 80% backed skilled workers and 41% backed unskilled workers coming to the UK with job offers, this dropped to just 14% support for unskilled workers without job offers. As many Brexiteers have long argued, the key issues in the UK have always been about control and economics, not opposition to immigrants themselves…

Unskilled Migration Down, Skilled Migration Up

New ONS figures have revealed that EU migration is down substantially from the date of the referendum, and non-EU migration is up. Many liberal Brexiteers campaigned to use Brexit as an opportunity to end ‘passport discrimination’ against people from outside the EU, on this evidence the balance is already improving…

More interestingly, the ONS has revealed that the biggest drop within EU migration has come from the A8 Eastern European countries that joined the bloc in 2004. Migrants from these countries are more likely to be low skilled, wheres migrants from the original EU15 are more likely to be higher skilled.

Most analysis shows that people overwhelmingly care about more control rather than absolute numbers of migrants. There is little concern in the country over the prospect of more highly skilled migrants, but much more concern over an excess of low skilled workers. Controlling low-skilled migration was an important factor in why many people voted for Brexit, they are getting what they voted for…

Diane Abbott Illegal Immigration Brain Fade

Brain fade moment for Diane Abbott, who was repeatedly unable to answer whether Labour would deport illegal immigrants on Good Morning Britain:

“All I can say to you Piers is that anybody watching the programme this morning will be surprised that you don’t want to talk about the immediate plight of the Windrush generation… The logical fallout from the state the immigration and nationality department is in is to try and work towards an immigration and nationality department which is much more fair and much more efficient and this is something I’m working on the nuts and bolts of.”

Remember when Diane was accusing Amber Rudd of not being across the details?

Khan: Give EU Migrants Preferential Treatment Over Non-EU Migrants

One of the advantages of Brexit is we can now have a fair immigration system that treats people from outside the EU the same as people from inside. Would be a shame if the government sides with the Remainers and shows a lack of ambition on this too…

Rudd Wrong About Migrant Removal Targets

Amber Rudd told the Home Affairs select committee yesterday: “We don’t have targets for removals… if you’re asking me are there numbers of people we expect to be removed, that’s not how we operate.”

Note the subtle change in line from the Home Office last night: It has never been policy to take decisions arbitrarily to meet a target.

… Repeated by Matt Hancock on the Today programme this morning: “As far as I understand it, it has never been Home Office policy to take decisions arbitrarily to meet the target.”

Because… this 2015 report sent to then Home Secretary Theresa May by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration shows: “For 2014/15 (10 full months) the Home Office set a target of 7,200 Voluntary Departures, an average of 120 per week, with the weekly target rising to 160 by the end of March 2015. For 2015/16, the annual target was raised to 12,000.”

You would have thought that, between them, the current and former Home Secretaries would know if the Home Office had migrant removal targets. Guess who is scheduled for today’s Press Gallery lunch…

May and Rudd Trying to Be ‘More Brexit Than Brexit’ on Immigration

Two pieces today express the unhappiness of Brexiters with Theresa May’s version of Brexit. Boris tells the Telegraph leaving will be “pointless” if we cannot diverge from the EU and strike trade deals with other countries, and makes the case for a “liberal” immigration policy that allows us to take “software people from Hyderabad” and “Australian paramedics” as well as skilled migrants from the EU. Fraser Nelson blasts May for pursuing “the wrong Brexit” in the Spectator, warning:

“Many Remainers genuinely believed they were engaged in a battle of ‘open’ vs ‘closed’ — and that ‘closed’ won. So as democrats, they ought to obey what they believe to be the demand of Brexit voters: clamping down on migration, sounding more tough and less liberal. This is a tragic misreading not only of the referendum result, but of public opinion today. Seeking to control immigration is not the same thing as being anti-immigrant…

Limits should be placed on unskilled labour, as is common in most countries, but skilled workers should be welcomed with open arms. There should be no more treating Australians or Indians as second class immigrants, and no more violinists deported to Massachusetts because they don’t earn enough.”

This is essentially the problem with two Remainers, May and Rudd, being in charge of the post-Brexit approach to immigration. In an effort to win the support of Brexiters, May and Rudd have overcompensated and tried to be more Brexit than Brexit, playing up to their caricature of what they think Leave voters want. A Leave Prime Minister would not have used EU citizens as bargaining chips as May did for so long. A Leave Prime Minister would not continue to favour EU migrants over non-EU migrants post-Brexit, as Brexiters fear May and Rudd will do to get a better deal. Polling by Open Europe found 56% supported continuing immigration “as long as there are controls to make sure they will contribute to our society, economy and way of life”. It is about control and fairness, not the cold approach exemplified by the Windrush scandal…

Anna Soubry Denies She Called Migrants “Thick”

Press Association has some curious Anna Soubry quotes from a fringe event on immigration yesterday. According to their report she said it is a “myth” that migrants use public services because they are “thick young men”.

“Go to Boston. Boston apparently has some of the highest numbers of migrant workers. It is a myth that these people are clogging up our social services and social housing. It is not true, because most of the people who work in Boston, to put it crudely, are thick young men. The last place you’ll find them is at the Pilgrim hospital [in Boston], apart from those that work in it.”

UPDATE: Soubry is claiming she has been misquoted by Press Association. She reckons she said “fit young men”.

UPDATE II: Here is the audio. She said “fit”.

Sounds like the PA reporter had a particularly bad conference hangover.

Caroline Flint v Clive Lewis Immigration Bunfight

This got heated when Clive suggested Caroline was racist for supporting managed migration…

Corbyn Backs “A Lot” of Continued EU Immigration

Corbyn doing his best to come to the aid of imploding Tories this morning…

Net Migration Down 81,000

Net migration was 246,000 last year, down 81,000 from 327,000 the previous year. In total 588,000 people came to the country, down 50,000 from 638,000 the previous year. Emigration was 342,000, up from 311,000 the previous year. Significant increase in EU citizens returning home…

Shami: Labour Backs Continuing Free Movement

Shami Chakrabarti didn’t really have a grasp of the detail on Ridge but she made clear Labour would not take back control of borders and would support the continuation of free movement in some form:

“We haven’t said we’d have control of free movement of people, you can’t necessarily have control… what’s important is that jobs come first, the economy comes first and that means getting tariff-free access to the single market… There’s a lot of room for negotiation about what types of free movement, what kinds of priority… It’s possible for friendly countries in and outside Europe to give priority for certain nationals.”

Not quite what they said in their manifesto… going to alienate a lot of Labour’s working class Northern vote…

May Guarantees Rights of EU Citizens From Article 50 Date

Back in February Guido told you Theresa May was considering Article 50 day as the cut-off date for EU citizens’ right to remain in the country. Well, tonight May has announced that the 3 million EU citizens in Britain on Article 50 day, March 29, can stay with access to schools, hospitals etc. The final cut off date has been left open and could be any date up to the point Britain leaves the EU, meaning it is on the table pending the rest of the negotiations. But any EU citizen here on Article 50 has the right to remain. An open and generous offer…

Labour Chaos Latest: Now Back Free Movement

As Guido reported this morning the Tories are all over the place on Brexit, though it’s worth looking at Labour’s shambles as well. On Monday Barry Gardiner and John McDonnell disagreed about staying in the single market. Today Rebecca Long-Bailey amusingly described the single market as a “moot point” and suggested she supports the continuation of free movement:

“We accept the fact that if we are going to have impediment-free access to the single market then there will have to be some element of free movement.”

Labour’s manifesto position, outlined by Corbyn during the campaign was: “clearly the free movement ends when we leave the European Union.Does Becky speak for herself or the Shadow Cabinet?

Net Migration Down 84,000

Net migration fell to 248,000 in 2016 – down 84,000 year-on-year. Immigration was estimated to be 588,000 and emigration 339,000.

Eastern European EU8 citizens have partly driven the changes with a fall in immigration (down 25,000) to 48,000 and a rise in emigration (up 16,000) to 43,000 in 2016.

UK Q1 GDP was also revised down to 0.2% from 0.3%. The ONS said a slowdown in household spending as prices rose was to blame.

Stay tuned for UKIP’s manifesto launch shortly…

UKIP and Farage Seize on Osborne Immigration Revelations

George Osborne has admitted that the Cameron government never tried to keep its promises on immigration and claimed that every senior member of the Cabinet privately opposes the Tory target on reducing net migration. Osborne makes the claims in his latest Evening Standard editorial, writing that “none of its senior members supports the pledge in private and all would be glad to see the back of something that has caused the Conservative Party such public grief”. Just like Dave’s unhelpful Brexit comments last week, UKIP are already seizing on these revelations. Nigel Farage tells Guido:

“In admitting that the Tories never planned to keep their promises on immigration, and that the Cabinet does not even support reducing migration, I suspect for once George Osborne has got something right.”

And a punchy UKIP spokesman tells Guido:

“Osborne has blown the gaff. For the last 7 years the Tories have been knowingly lying about their inability to reduce immigration. Now Amber Rudd has been passed the baton by the Prime Minister to carry on doing so. It used to be said that it was the job of the Diplomatic Service to lie for Britain. It now seems to be the job of the Home Office to lie to Britain.”

Notable that the unleashed Leave voter-bashing Osborne is using his insider knowledge of Cabinet discussions so overtly so early on in his new job. ACOBA were insistent that he must not used privileged information garnered from his time in office:

“The Committee is mindful of the potential interest the Evening Standard may have in the vast array of information you were privy to as a member of the Cabinet and as Chancellor. Whilst the Committee notes the Permanent Secretary has no concerns about the role in relation to your time as Chancellor, it is concerned that given the specific nature of the role as Editor, there is a risk that your knowledge acquired in office could provide some advantage to the Evening Standard.”    

Every Cabinet member who appears on TV will now be asked if they privately oppose this key Tory manifesto policy, just in time for tomorrow’s launch…

Soubry’s Manifesto Double Standard

Anna Soubry has repeatedly used the 2015 Tory manifesto commitment on the Single Market to support her own position that the UK should retain membership post-Brexit. This is really not as clever as she thinks it is. First, the referendum obviously gives the government a new mandate to leave the Single Market. Second, it turns out Soubry doesn’t actually care for manifesto promises when they don’t suit her. Her article for the Indy today calls for the government to drop its manifesto commitment to cutting immigration. Soubs has run on three straight Tory manifestos calling for immigration cuts. She is demanding the government sticks to the manifesto on the Single Market but breaks it on immigration – truly having her cake and eating it…

Clegg to ‘Hold Government to Account on Dramatically Reduced Immigration’

Curious that Nick Clegg has pledged to “hold the government to account over their Brexit contract with the British public”, including making sure that immigration is “dramatically reduced”. Huh? Clegg has been a vociferous supporter of free movement for years. He’s said, for example: “I want to be unequivocal: freedom of movement between EU member states is a good thing”. Just a few months ago he wrote a paper arguing it would be impossible for “control to be re-established” over immigration and for the UK economy to survive. Now he says he wants to hold the government to account on immigration being “dramatically reduced”? Did Clegg actually read that sign before he stood next to it? Wouldn’t be the first time…

“Who would be serving our coffee in Pret?”

“For anyone else here who works in London, who would be serving our coffee in Pret?” asked an audience member on last night’s question time apparently concerned about the plight of migrants.[…] Read the rest

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