Whilst we’re in the European Union we are required to accept unlimited immigration from 27 other EU countries. UKIP isn’t opposed to immigration, but we are opposed to uncontrolled immigration. It’s an important distinction, and one that our opponents ignore so that they can caricature us.
The logic of the other parties goes like this: “Overall, immigration from the EU is good for the country. Therefore, unlimited immigration is good for the country.” They point to a study at UCL which suggest EU immigrants contribute 34% more than they receive in benefits.
This research doesn’t take into account the cost of schools, hospitals, policing and other public services. With 2.3 million unemployed, British citizens would be doing these jobs anyway and bringing this money in. British citizens are out of work as a result, and that costs us money.
But the claim is disingenuous anyway. If we had two people come into the country, one bringing a skill to earn £50,000 a year and another claiming benefits, the country might well be ‘better off’ having both than having neither. But we’d do better still to just have the skilled worker without the drain on our finances.
Finally, the figures are just plain wrong. The research relies on assumptions that employees earn the same as the UK-born population when their own figures show they do not, that self-employed migrants contribute far more than those employed when they have no evidence of this whatsoever and that all of them own the same investments, property and other assets as the UK-born and long-term residents from the day they arrive in the UK.
The Migration Observatory at Oxford University published a report on 1st May, which showed that there are 2.6 million EU citizens living in the UK (and roughly 1.2 million UK citizens living in the EU). Our public services are overstretched, and there is a severe housing shortage in this country. Stopping the madness of uncontrolled immigration is essential. The numbers are frightening – 292,000 net immigration over the last year, and according to the latest figures immigration will add another million to the UK population over the next five years, despite the fact that England is already the most densely populated country in Europe.
Perhaps the worst part of all this is the impact upon the lowest-paid workers. With the minimum wage in Bulgaria standing at just 80p an hour, even highly-skilled Bulgarian workers can come to the UK and be happy on minimum wage. Business now has an oversupply of people prepared to work for minimum wage, so if you’re a young person looking for your first job – your first step on the career ladder – it’s very difficult to find one. If you’re a plumber, builder or electrician, then there are plenty of people willing to undercut you and work for lower wages. Do you go out of business, or accept a massive pay cut? That dilemma faces countless people across the country.
With a controlled immigration policy, we could allow people into the country who have the skills we need. For the time being, until we get rid of the Working Time Directive and train enough doctors and nurses, our NHS relies on immigration. Most of this is from non-EU countries, so when the other parties use the NHS as an argument for unlimited migration from the EU, they’re shifting the goalposts. Outside the EU, of course we’d allow people to come to the UK to work in the NHS where we have shortages of labour ourselves. We should remember that we’re depriving some of the poorest countries in the world of their talent at the moment, so importing labour from overseas may be hurting the countries in most need of development.
Current policy discriminates: no matter how brilliant you are, if you come from India or China then you will struggle to get a visa for the UK. But if you come from Greece or Romania, you can walk in to the country no questions asked. The traditional parties, who bleat ‘racist’ at UKIP, seem to forget that UKIP’s policy is the most colour-blind policy of any party.
A vote for UKIP on Thursday isn’t a vote to end all immigration, it’s a vote to bring back control over immigration.