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Why the employers love rising immigration

Migrants brought ashore at Dover by Border Force. Photo Sean Aidan Calderbank/shutterstock.com.

All the bluster about illegal immigration – which continues unabated – is designed to obscure the government’s determination to raise migration levels even further…

There’s a myth circulating in Britain, propagated by all the parliamentary parties and plenty of groups outside parliament, that there’s no link between migration and pay. Some go so far as to advocate open borders: let in anyone who wants to come.

Many weighty academic tomes have been produced to back the myth up, all seeking to turn the real world on its head. For in the real world a large increase in the supply of labour must inevitably tend to lower the price of labour, or reduce expected increases in the price of labour.

All this despite the clear evidence. The Covid-19 pandemic brought immigration figures down sharply, leading (among other pressures) to the inevitable: a sharp rise in wages.

Likewise, the stronger than expected recovery since the pandemic has led to renewed upward pressure on wages. And – surprise, surprise – that also coincides with a key indicator, the ratio of unemployed workers to vacancies.

Data released by the Office for National Statistics in September shows that since the middle of 2021 there have been fewer people chasing each job than at any time since 2001, when the dataset begins.

That’s bad news for employers, and bad news for shareholders. And they evidently decided that immigration needs to be stepped up.


All of this would be worrying enough even if it were clear what the immigration figures actually are. But it’s far from clear. Even the Office for National Statistics, which recently revised (once again) its methodology, says that its figures are “experimental”.

For an area of political discussion and national interest, it is surely a scandal that no one in Whitehall knows how many people are coming into Britain nor, by extension, how many people are living here.

But then, the real numbers are not something the establishment wants discussed. Employers and governments are united in wanting to increase – massively – the pool of workers they can draw on.

Fortunately for the proponents of immigration, every recent British government has agreed that more and more people must be let in. In fact, the current government, elected on a mandate of keeping migration under control, has instead presided over a huge rise in migration.

‘Elected on a mandate of controlling migration, they have presided over a huge rise…’

What is beyond doubt is that leaving the EU has reduced the numbers of people coming in from Europe, but not from outside Europe. Indeed, quite the reverse. Immigration from outside the EU has soared, ruthlessly enabled by a series of official exemptions.

Skilled Workers visas, the new designation used by the government, are available for a list of trades that goes on, and on, and on. There’s one list for health and education, another for other occupations.

In health, it applies to all doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, radiologists, pharmacists, psychologists, even senior managers (of which, some might say, there appears to be an over-supply). On top of this, it includes all jobs in care homes and home carers, plus senior care workers.


A story in the Daily Mail at the beginning of October, citing “Whitehall sources”, said the government was drawing up “radical plans” to recruit thousands of overseas doctors and fast-track registration with the General Medical Council (GMC) “in a bid to break NHS strikes”.

The Mail article said the move was likely to “outrage” the British Medical Association, the doctors’ union. Perhaps, though any outrage would be long overdue, given that the “radical plan” has been in effect for over a year: thousands of overseas doctors are already being recruited under the Skilled Workers visa.

As for fast-tracking, it’s hard to see how the GMC could make things move much faster. As long as an application meets the criteria, it will be approved within ten working days. Unless, of course, the government wants the GMC to lower the qualifications and experience needed to practise in Britain – which would cause great outrage, and not just among doctors.

In education, the Skilled Worker exemptions cover any maths, modern languages and computer sciences teacher, as well as any science teacher (provided they teach a bit of physics). And in a piece of unintended humour, the Scottish government has listed secondary and primary teachers of Gaelic, a language they are trying to force upon Scottish students.

The construction exemptions cover all masons, bricklayers, roofers, tilers, slaters, carpenters, plasterers and joiners – basically, just about everyone working in the industry.

No wonder people are entering Britain each year in their hundreds of thousands. And governments keenly grab any opportunity to use international crises to boost immigration even further.

A word of warning: it’s impossible to be sure about the numbers of people coming in, legally or illegally. And granted, Office for National Statistics figures are experimental. But if they are even half right they show an alarming trend.

At the time of the EU referendum annual net migration figures from inside and outside the EU were broadly similar: 207,000 from the EU, 162,000 from outside, for a total of less than 400,000. By the end of June 2020 the total was 458,000.

That was an increase of 24 per cent, more than a quarter, in four years. Bad enough, but the figure disguises a vast difference in the sources of immigration.

In the year to June 2020 net immigration from the EU was estimated as negative, with 51,000 more leaving than coming. Net immigration from outside the EU was estimated at 509,000 – more than three times as high as in 2016.

To anyone who has followed the labyrinthine intricacies of migration politics that should have come as no surprise. Scheme after scheme has been introduced to make it easy for people to enter Britain from low-income countries to work and study.

Between June 2019 and June 2022 Home Office visas granted for student immigration from India rose by 215 per cent, from Pakistan by 377 per cent, and from Nigeria by 686 per cent. And the rise in work visas is fuelled by a huge expansion in health and social care workers, mainly from India.

So the referendum and the 2019 election have been followed by a set of policies designed to increase immigration – not something wanted or expected by the majority of voters in that referendum.

Quite simply, the employers and the state have thwarted the wishes of the people.

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