- As the UK prepares to leave the European Union in 2019, the government must create a new policy for immigrants from EU-member nations. It should also rethink its policies regarding non-EU immigrants as well.
- In recent years, UK immigration policy toward non-EU migrants has prioritised highly skilled workers. Free-movement migrants from within the EU have generally held low- or semi-skilled jobs and had strong labour force attachment.
- UK immigrants have higher education levels than natives, on average, and while the largest economic gains typically come from highly skilled immigrants, less-skilled immigrant workers make economic contributions as well.
- The empirical evidence indicates that immigration has had a negligible overall effect on natives’ employment, unemployment, and wages in the UK. However, a few studies conclude that the labour market prospects of less-skilled native-born workers have been harmed by immigration.
- Reducing immigrant inflows, particularly of highly skilled immigrants, would create considerable economic costs in the short and long run. Admitting more highly skilled immigrants, from inside or outside the EU, is particularly vital to long-run economic growth.
- Auctioning employer permits to hire foreign workers would maximise the economic benefits of immigration and increase government revenue.
• Britain’s Border Force is not equipped to quickly, accurately and securely monitor passengers in and out of Britain. After Brexit it will become even more important for Britain’s borders to be secure.
• The Warning Index and Semaphore systems the Border Force uses are years out of date, and at times 7.5% of high risk flights have not been properly screened, which if representative of the whole year would translate into over four thousand high-risk flights not being met. This has allowed known terrorists to leave the country without being detained properly.
• The Border Force operates a slow service at peak times: during the summer of 2016, an average of three out of four Heathrow Terminals every month failed their target wait times for non-EEA passengers through passport control.
• After sovereignty, polls have found control of the UK’s borders to be the second most important driver of voting for Brexit, and many voters desired sovereignty itself in order to control who comes in and out of the country.
• Public trust in the UK immigration system, and its key enforcer, the UK Border Force, is crucial in order for the UK to have a sensible immigration policy.
• The Border Force is only collecting data from the Advanced Passenger Information System for 86% of passengers, making a mockery of “exporting the border” claims.
• Some past collaborations with the private sector, like the Raytheon project, have turned out badly, but these involved heavy governmental micromanagement; decentralised private companies like AirBnb prove that the private sector can create high trust, heavily-vetted systems.
• The government must thoroughly modernise the force and deliver a new, realtime database and biometric scanning system, collaborating with the private sector to deliver a technological solution and paying for results, not trying to build its own system from the ground up.
Read the full report here.
Fredrik Segerfeldt argues that migration benefits not only migrants from developing countries but also the family and friends that they leave behind. The idea of 'brain drain,' that the outward flow of the best and brightest inhabitants of a developing country adversely affects that country's prospects, is not borne out in the empirical data, while remittances are shown to significantly ameliorate poverty.