Migration Dominates the Headlines Again

GMT 15:19 Monday ,16 January 2017

 Migrant Voice - Migration Dominates the Headlines Again

Nathan Akehurst

Migration dominated the headlines in 2016, and in the second week of the New Year, it’s been no different.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on social integration last week a released a report arguing for urgent action by the Government on creating an integration strategy. It proposed looking at, among other things, compulsory English classes for new migrants, internal borders and local authority cohesion plans. Migrant Voice responded, and a few days later, so did the government’s adviser on integration, Louise Casey CB.

Ms Casey claimed that integration is ‘not a two way street’ and that migrants must be told to do more. Her recent review proposed that newcomers should take an oath of allegiance to Britain. Simultaneously, a Home Office letter announced its willingness to use EU citizens as “negotiating capital” during the Brexit negotiations. No. 10 also distanced itself from a minister’s comment proposing a levy on skilled migrants.

Jeremy Corbyn’s speech on Brexit blamed the Government for the rise in anti-migrant sentiment, saying that “they put immense strain on public services with six years of extreme cuts and then blamed migrants for the pressure caused by Tory austerity.” He committed Labour to a humane solution to the refugee crisis and protecting the rights of EU citizens resident in Britain but ruled out committing to continuation of free movement within the EU.

SNP MP Alison Thewliss raised a question in Parliament about allowing asylum seekers the right to work; covered in the Independent with Migrant Voice’s director quoted. It made little impact on Government policy, but did highlight the issue for a far wider audience.

Away from Parliament, a report hosted by the University of Glasgow into the experiences of LGBT migrants was published last week, and an IMF report claimed that immigration does not increase inequality when effectively managed.

Finally, the figures for the first year of the controversial Right to Rent scheme, aimed at using the housing system to locate undocumented migrants, were released. From October 2015-16, enforcement action was pursued against 75 landlords, and 31 people were deported.
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