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Coalition ‘under strain’ after Cameron & Cable clash over immigration

Photo: PAUL GROVER

Cable & Cameron: immigration tension?

The reality of global trade impacted upon the irrationality of British racism as expressed through British immigration policy.

This week the Prime Minister, David Cameron and Vince Cable, President of the Board of Trade toured India seeking business and investment opportunities in a country with 1 billion people and an annual growth rate 9%.

The reality is that the balance of economic power has shifted from the old colonial power to its former colonial subjects as the global economy forces the UK to revaluate its discriminatory immigration cap. This economic reality and the UK’s desperate need to kick-start growth in the economy will lead to the cap on immigration being quietly dropped.

The problem with this approach is that in an effort to win votes politicians exploit anti immigration sentiment at the expense of Black, and minority ethnic communities at home and the UK’s economic interests abroad.

If the cap crackdown is introduced it will target workers from Africa who make up the largest group of non-European migrants working in the U.K. as well as, Commonwealth countries such as India, Pakistan and Australia. Citizens of Commonwealth nations lost preferential treatment from Britain on immigration in the 1970s. Americans, who number about 80,000 working in the U.K, will also face new difficulties.

“Now is not the best time to impose a cap, because we need those workers to consolidate and strengthen what is already a fragile economic recovery.”

said Gerwyn Davies, public policy adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, which represents human resources staff across Britain.

The Prime Minister plays a dangerous game in holding back some imaginary tide of immigration. Throughout the election the right wing press and the BNP sought to make immigration the number one issue. The introduction of an immigration cap was a needless concession to popular racism manufactured by the press and exploited for short-term gain by politicians.

The potential effects of the cap could seriously harm Britain’s UK economic interests as highly skilled Indian, Chinese, Brazilian and Russian workers and business people could be excluded from the UK.

The real point here is racism and anti immigration rhetoric is bad for business, and the Indian Government and others are driving that point home during this high profile visit.

The Confederation of Indian Business and some British financial leaders have expressed concern that it would prevent entrepreneurs from coming to Britain.

Indian Ministers are pointing out that whilst the UK wants more trade with India the UK’s immigration policy prevents India workers and businesses working in Britain.

Anand Sharma, the Indian commerce minister, told the prime minister in Downing Street recently that the cap could have an “adverse effect” on trade relations. Sharma pointedly remarked that Indian professionals, “who have made a notable contribution to the UK economy”, could find it difficult to enter Britain.

The Government has now been forced quite uniquely to offer India input into UK Immigration policy discussions on how, and at what level an immigration cap should be set.

Downing Street sources said the prime minister was keen to offer reassurances to India:

“We want to work with India and other countries to ensure that high-skilled people can still come to Britain. We are going to talk to these countries about how to implement the cap.”

Britain’s immigration policy and the Coalition are under great strain as a consequence. Vince Cable has always thought of the cap as nonsensical and potentially damaging to Britain’s interests.
The Confederation of Indian Business and some British financial leaders have expressed concern that it would prevent entrepreneurs from coming to Britain.

Mr. Cable briefed Hindu Business Line that he would fight to have the cap scrapped, saying he wanted as;

“liberal an immigration policy as it’s possible to have”.

“We are arguing, within government, about how we create the most flexible regime we can possibly have, but in a way that reassures the British public,” he added.

Reassuring racism is deeply unprofitable and socially irresponsible. As the UK recalibrates its position in the world as a minor economic power it will also need to tackle anti-immigration if we are to emerge from our current economic malaise.

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One Response

  1. Is it just me or is the British passport going through Inflation?
    I just get the feeling it’s not worth as much as it used to…

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