Comment: Immigration minister should read his own report

Commenting on the immigration minister James Brokenshire's debut speech this morning, Sam Bowman, Research Director at the Adam Smith Institute, said:

“Today’s migration impact report released by the government confirms what economists and businesses have been saying for years: that immigration is good for Britain, and we need more of it.

“Contrary to the claims of immigration minister James Brokenshire today, immigrants have no long-term negative impact on native wages or employment rates, and by acting as innovators and entrepreneurs probably have a substantially positive impact on natives overall. The mild short-term disemployment effects found in the report can be eased through labour force deregulation and welfare reforms.

“The government’s cap on migration is crude and harmful to growth – the ‘cure’ is worse than the disease. The report highlights that even the mild, short-term negative impact on employment associated with immigration applies only to low-skilled migrants. The government should therefore only include unskilled migrants on tier-3 work visas in its cap, to allow British businesses to hire the best and brightest skilled workers the world has to offer.

“In the longer run, the cap should be dropped altogether, in tandem with welfare and labour market reforms to reduce the impact of unskilled immigrants on unskilled native workers.

“The Conservative Party once claimed to stand for economic growth, open markets and individual liberty. If Mr Brokenshire’s speech today is any sign, those days are over. Instead, the Conservatives have retreated to the worst kind of populist protectionism on immigration, sacrificing long-term prosperity for short-term electoral gain.”

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The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.