Brexit : Rules & Immigration53 min read

12 Mar 2019 | features | 0 comments

Brexit : Rules & Immigration53 min read

12 Mar 2019 | features | 0 comments

The three main points of brexit have been EU regulations, British industry and UK immigration. There has been far too much legal control from Brussels and it’s the reason the referendum went the way it did. The EU was supposed to act as a federal bureaucratic organisation to facilitate the movement of trade and goods. What happened was that it began performing outside of that remit and turned itself into a virtual European State.

The EU’s true ambitions of expansion were kept hidden in 1973 and in the referendum of 1975, when voters to join the EU had not been provided the full facts. The main emphasis of the 2016 referendum has been on loosing the Single Market and the Custom’s Union and also the debate about immigration and Northern Ireland. This time it has been the voters to remain, that have been saying that Leave voters were not aware of the implications of their decision.

It’s clear that those who voted to remain in the 1975 referendum were certainly hoodwinked by Prime Minister Edward Heath who was complicit in keeping the salient points of that deal under wraps. We know this to be true because the clauses outlining the full extent of the loss of powers was never revealed to the public.

On 16 March 2017 the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 received Royal Assent and was the document in law that was presented to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, to formally give notice of this country’s intention to leave the European Union and begin the process in accordance with the procedure stipulated in Article 50.

Page 1 of the document.

During the withdrawal process, the EU and the UK have two years to reach an agreement on any future relationship. At the end of this period if no agreement has been reached, the EU membership comes to an end, unless the European Council decides unanimously, in agreement with the withdrawing member states, to extend the deadline. That deadline is 29 March 2019 at present.

The Prime Minister has personally been trying to negotiate with EU senior ministers but she has been sent home empty handed because they simply refuse to accommodate her proposals. Whatever people are saying about her and brexit, it would appear that she is single-handedly on the battlefield in parley. This country could not have left her in a more untenable position.

The EU’s tactic has been to ignore proposals in the belief that the Prime Minister will be so discredited that the country will call for a General Election or at least a second referendum. Neither of these happened so the new strategy became to back those that voted to remain in the EU.

If it were to become evident that the UK would leave without a deal then arrangements have been put in place to trigger an extension of Article 50 by compelling the Government to take those steps. The so-called Cooper-Letwin amendment is a list of MPs that supported this move.

In December 2018 a group of Scottish campaigners for a second referendum received a positive ruling by the European Court of Justice that the UK could revoke Article 50 and halt brexit without any permissions from other member states – which is in contravention to Article 50 itself which states as we mentioned earlier, that the unanimous consent of the European Council is required, a point which the court has ignored.

The European Court of Justice granted the right to withdraw Article 50. If it were to be revoked the UK would remain in the EU under the current terms. However, it doesn’t alter either the referendum vote or the clear intention of this Government to ensure the UK leaves when it says it will leave.

Whatever you think of Theresa May, she stood firm and protected UK interests, not surrendering sovereignty in contrast with previous Prime Ministers who all signed treaties that ceded sovereign powers to the EU. She acted in much the same way as when John Major negotiated an opt out from the Single Currency during the Maastricht negotiations in 1991 after which ministers continued to reject the single currency but they did so knowing they had the legal right not to adopt the Euro.

John Major in his election addresses on 16 April 1997 said:

Whether you agree with me, disagree with me, like me or loathe me, don’t bind my hands when I am negotiating on behalf of the British people.

Unfortunately this was what happened to Theresa May and she was granted no political room to manoeuvre, not least because the official name of her party is The Conservative and Unionist Party, the unionist part referring to the Democratic Unionist Party, and support from Northern Ireland has kept her in office.

Her Checkers deal would have left the Irish borders as they are now, but the EU in return wanted to control immigration and UK waters which are compromises the Prime Minister would not cede. The UK asked for a solution to the backstop issue but quite simply the EU has refused to compromise on the Northern Ireland border issue using it as a bargaining chip because the UK will not yield on immigration and fishing.

Sammy Wilson, the UDP’s Brexit spokesman said: “If we finish up with no deal it is a result of the intransigence of the EU.

Leaving the EU without a deal is much the same as leaving with a deal because the circumstances in most cases would be similar. Leaving with a deal means leaving the EU with additional benefits for both sides. The UK has already agreed to follow all the rules for non-EU countries for trading with the EU and has offered suggestions where EU vessels might fish in UK waters with permission. But this is not good enough for the EU, they want to actually own the legal rights to UK fishing territory.

EU LAWS:

Since the Treaty of Rome, EU laws have permeated UK legislation but other nations have been far more reluctant to accept the supremacy of the EU than we were. In order for EU laws to be incorporated into UK law the Prime Minister joined the European Community by signing the Treaty of Accession in Brussels on 22 January 1972. Parliament had prepared a short document beforehand of just twelve clauses called the European Communities Act 1972 which granted permission for the UK to be ruled by the EU.

At the signing of the Treaty of Paris on 19 March 1951, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was formed to aid in the re-construction of Europe. Following its success two further organisations were proposed, a European Defence Community and a European Political Community.

Negotiations commenced in 1955 at Messina in Italy; both suggestions were rejected and talks turned to economic unity which resulted in the Treaty of Rome 1957, which came into force on 1 January 1958 alongside the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC) which was agreed on the same day.

The European flag of twelve yellow stars on a blue background also emerged at that time; which had been designed in 1955 for the Council of Europe (CoE), to be adopted by the EEC and later the European Communities (EC) and by today’s incarnation the EU.

The Treaty of Rome 1957.

The Treaty of Rome brought into existence the European Economic Community (EEC). From 1 July 1967 it became the European Community by merging the ECSC, EAEC and EEC commissions. Following the Treaty of Maastricht 1992 it became known as the European Union (EU). The aim of the Treaty of Rome was to transform trade, industry and manufacturing and to work towards a unified Europe. That treaty today is called the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Therefore the two treaties which form the constitutional basis of the European Union (EU) are; the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union 2007 (aka Treaty of Rome -1957) and the Treaty On European Union – 2007 (aka Maastricht Treaty 1992). Both treaties having been renamed.

The Treaty of Maastricht laid the foundations for a single currency, European citizenship, the Customs Union and closer cooperation between police and the judiciary. These new areas of justice & home affairs were introduced into the scope of the new EU which saw itself as being built atop the three pillars of a new stronger union, controlling the financial and legal systems of member countries as well as the movement of goods and people.

There have been three major amendments: Amsterdam 1999, Nice 2001 and Lisbon 2007.

The Treaty of Amsterdam built upon the Treaty of Rome and increased the powers of the European Parliament, in particular to do with European Citizens and immigration.

The Treaty of Nice built upon the Treaty of Maastricht which had established the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European System of Central Banks to ensure price stability was maintained for the new Euro and thereby having a major concern in inflation, public debt, interest rates and the exchange rates of member states. The Treaty of Nice dealt mainly with banking.

The Treaty of Lisbon built upon the preceding treaties bringing them all under one umbrella. It was signed by member states on 13 December 2007, and entered into force on 1 December 2009. It established an even stronger European parliament of MEPs from member states that were not elected but selected by the relevant leader of member states.

The Treaty of Lisbon did for the first time give members the legal right to leave the EU and how to do it in Article 50. This brief document doesn’t describe the circumstances of a right to withdraw, it just sets out the procedure to be followed. Up until Lisbon members had no legal way of withdrawing from the EU other than by military force.

Gordon Brown signing the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007. He rejected a referendum and effectively signed a Constitutional Treaty handing over a swathe of powers to the EU.

INDUSTRY

Since the Treaty of Lisbon 2007, the EU has worked successfully to fulfil the trade objectives laid out in the Treaty of Rome, and then they started to focus on developing a European State by embedding a web of laws into the legal systems of member states, moulding them into principalities in a federal Europe.

The most common transport used for trade in the EU is maritime, air and road. So having joined the EU for trade reasons a new member finds themselves entangled by EU law encompassing almost every aspect at sea, in air and on land. From the types of warehouse that can be used in road transportation, the way aircraft need to be managed at airports, the type of fishing vessels that should be used. Legislation overspills into areas that have not much to do with trade at all.

The Common Fisheries Policy was rushed, in time for when the UK applied to join the EU so that UK waters would effectively be inherited by the EU. The External Aviation Policy, the so-called ‘open skies’ policies of 2002, meant that member states could no longer act in isolation when negotiating international air service agreements. And as long ago as the Treaty of Rome, member states had stressed the importance of a common transport policy and so that was the first common area for the EU to exploit.

Looking at fishing for an example, what happened in 1973 when the UK became a member state, was an overnight change from being the largest fishing fleet in Europe to in 2014 when it was revealed that 23% of the entire quota for the UK would fit on to a single Dutch trawler, the Cornelis Vrolijk.

This was followed by the ‘discards’ scandal, forcing fishermen to chuck back into the sea millions of dead fish for which they had no quota and which was later amended so that over quota fish had to be brought back to shore to be discarded at a landfill site. And if that isn’t tragic enough, haddock and cod are being forced north as ocean temperatures rise.

The Cornelis Vrolijk. In 2014 it was reported that four ships like this, represented the total yearly catch allowed by the British fishing fleet.

It got much more ridiculous than that. In 2011 the EU claimed that drinking water does not ease dehydration, saying that scientists had found no evidence to suggest drinking water stopped dehydration. They even passed a law prohibiting manufacturers of bottled water from making such claims.

IMMIGRATION

Ever since the UK joined Europe it has employed the principle known as ‘free movement’ whereby EU and EEA (European Economic Area – i.e. Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland,) citizens can travel to and from and live and work in the UK.

Leaving the European Union (EU) will allow the UK to take back control of migration policy previously determined by EU law. It will be able to restrict EU immigration in a way that has not been possible for decades. The task of managing immigration completely changes in both scale and strategic importance once free movement ends.

It’s a fundamental point that immigration is dis-joined from racism so that policy is not associated with kicking out the races we don’t like and not admitting the races we don’t like – because it’s not about race preference, but about controlling immigration and its affects.

Another fundamental point to acknowledge is that it’s not a basic human right for any immigrant or refugee to settle in any country they so chose. It is a case by case situation where an applicant, whatever their circumstance, should meet agreed criteria and even then a cap has to be determined at some level.

This needs to be all sorted out if the UK immigration system is to have any chance of meeting the brexit challenge. The Government has pledged to have a new immigration system ready by January 2021 based on a points system, restricting access for lower-paid migrants and making things easier for higher-skilled non-EU migrants to enter the UK – known as the ‘hostile environment’ policy.

Over the last ten years the UK rulebook on immigration has quadrupled in size to more than 1,000 pages because new clauses are bolted on and existing ones chopped up, creating a web of cross-references. As a result there is numerous duplication and references to sections that no longer exist. This legal document which is used to make thousands of decisions a year is largely incomprehensible.

The Government has admitted (2009) that the complexity of the rules reduced the efficiency of the decision-making processes, resulting in delays and mistakes. It wasn’t so much of a problem until about 15 years ago when large numbers of EU citizens began to make the most of their ‘free movement’ rights and moved to the UK, mostly from the newer member states of eastern Europe.

The UK economy has supported free movement and EU migrants in the labour market to the point where whole industries have become reliant on it. Of immigrant workers, almost 1 in 3 are in food production, 99 in every 100 are seasonal workers, and they make up 15% of construction workers and 15% of science research workers.

In fact when the Government tightened rules on reducing non-EU migration, EU migrants increased to pick up the demand. This is the very reason Germany accepted so many migrants and has the largest amount in Europe because it has an incredible shortage of labour for its industries.

The Home Office runs the immigration system in the UK, it has 7,500 staff working in UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) with centres across the world, costing £2.1 billion in 2017/18. More than 600,000 people are estimated to have migrated to the UK between the start of July 2017 and the end of June 2018. Roughly a third came from the EU and more than 300,000 were from non-EU countries.

Some reports suggest that immigration control is too large in itself for the Home Office and that it should become a separate entity because it isn’t as efficient as it should be, The business world on the other hand sees the UK’s system as reliable, easy to use and fast, a reputation that is not recognised domestically with reports showing the UK public does not trust the Government to manage migration.

It is the ‘freedom of movement’ that came under intense scrutiny during the referendum in 2016. The UK has limited immigration controls at its 138 ports. Only UK or EEA passports or a visa can come through, the rest need to be scrutinised, a huge task that the Border Force can just about handle; Heathrow alone handles around 75 million passengers a year.

So border controls rely on intelligence from the EU and other security services. The real enforcement work is done behind closed doors on the border and Immigration Enforcement are responsible for removing those who are in the UK illegally. In practice, only a small percentage of illegal immigrants are pursued for deportation although the UK does remove more people than most other EU countries.

In leaving the EU it is important to maintain the flow of security intelligence and it would be bizarre if the EU decided to stop. In any case what Theresa May said in October 2018 does ring true:

For the first time in decades, it will be this country that controls and chooses who we want to come here.”

Theresa May, as Home Secretary in the Coalition Government, was tasked with introducing the two most recognisable features of the immigration system: the net migration target and the so-called hostile environment policy. The net migration target is based on the difference between immigration and emigration (even though the UK cannot control the numbers that wish to come or leave under UK law).

After more than forty years in the EU it’s understandable why many in Europe may want to migrate to the UK but when you compare that amount with those that are allowed from overseas then the chart becomes rather bewildering – just what have these great numbers to do with the UK and why are they being admitted wholesale. Is it any wonder that in 2006, the incoming Home Secretary John Reid, declared that the Home Office was not fit for purpose.

The aim of the hostile environment policy is to make life difficult for illegal immigrants by restricting entitlements to public services and benefits that tax payers fund and to restrict access to housing – all done in the hope that it will prompt illegal immigrants to leave the UK (which seems rather unlikely when crime is made the easier option).

The UK’s approach to immigration since 2010 has been simply to try to reduce it. Theresa May refined the routes to immigration appeals made by immigration caseworkers which saw an initial reduction in appeals. However this was balanced with a worrying increase in the proportion of appeals granted, so that by 2018, immigration tribunals were overturning Home Office decisions in over half of cases despite the reduction in the overall number of appeals. A new white paper on immigration was published in December 2018.

When the Government sees a labour shortage for example with the NHS, it removes the NHS from the cap so that more non-EU immigrants can come to work in the UK. Of itself, if it’s necessary this is fine but it does show how non-EU immigration is managed and today it is higher than when the Conservative Party formalised its target in its 2010 manifesto.

Considering the Home Office has been the largest recipient in Whitehall of additional brexit cash then whatever is in the 2018 white paper needs to be a realistic and workable solution. A lesson learned from the windrush was that good record keeping is essential together with cross-referencing capabilities, such that information on the HMRC database can be used to confirm residence for example. In the end the statistics will reveal the truth.

Nigel Farage giving Jean-Claude Juncker (President of the European Commission since 2014) a piece of his mind following the 2016 UK referendum and the decision to leave the EU.

The three main points of brexit have been EU regulations, British industry and UK immigration. There has been far too much legal control from Brussels and it’s the reason the referendum went the way it did. The EU was supposed to act as a federal bureaucratic organisation to facilitate the movement of trade and goods. What happened was that it began performing outside of that remit and turned itself into a virtual European State.

The EU’s true ambitions of expansion were kept hidden in 1973 and in the referendum of 1975, when voters to join the EU had not been provided the full facts. The main emphasis of the 2016 referendum has been on loosing the Single Market and the Custom’s Union and also the debate about immigration and Northern Ireland. This time it has been the voters to remain, that have been saying that Leave voters were not aware of the implications of their decision.

It’s clear that those who voted to remain in the 1975 referendum were certainly hoodwinked by Prime Minister Edward Heath who was complicit in keeping the salient points of that deal under wraps. We know this to be true because the clauses outlining the full extent of the loss of powers was never revealed to the public.

On 16 March 2017 the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 received Royal Assent and was the document in law that was presented to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, to formally give notice of this country’s intention to leave the European Union and begin the process in accordance with the procedure stipulated in Article 50.

Page 1 of the document

During the withdrawal process, the EU and the UK have two years to reach an agreement on any future relationship. At the end of this period if no agreement has been reached, the EU membership comes to an end, unless the European Council decides unanimously, in agreement with the withdrawing member states, to extend the deadline. That deadline is 29 March 2019 at present.

The Prime Minister has personally been trying to negotiate with EU senior ministers but she has been sent home empty handed because they simply refuse to accommodate her proposals. Whatever people are saying about her and brexit, it would appear that she is single-handedly on the battlefield in parley. This country could not have left her in a more untenable position.

The EU’s tactic has been to ignore proposals in the belief that the Prime Minister will be so discredited that the country will call for a General Election or at least a second referendum. Neither of these happened so the new strategy became to back those that voted to remain in the EU.

If it were to become evident that the UK would leave without a deal then arrangements have been put in place to trigger an extension of Article 50 by compelling the Government to take those steps. The so-called Cooper-Letwin amendment is a list of MPs that supported this move.

In December 2018 a group of Scottish campaigners for a second referendum received a positive ruling by the European Court of Justice that the UK could revoke Article 50 and halt brexit without any permissions from other member states – which is in contravention to Article 50 itself which states as we mentioned earlier, that the unanimous consent of the European Council is required, a point which the court has ignored.

The European Court of Justice granted the right to withdraw Article 50. If it were to be revoked the UK would remain in the EU under the current terms. However, it doesn’t alter either the referendum vote or the clear intention of this Government to ensure the UK leaves when it says it will leave.

Whatever you think of Theresa May, she stood firm and protected UK interests, not surrendering sovereignty in contrast with previous Prime Ministers who all signed treaties that ceded sovereign powers to the EU. She acted in much the same way as when John Major negotiated an opt out from the Single Currency during the Maastricht negotiations in 1991 after which ministers continued to reject the single currency but they did so knowing they had the legal right not to adopt the Euro.

John Major in his election addresses on 16 April 1997 said:

Whether you agree with me, disagree with me, like me or loathe me, don’t bind my hands when I am negotiating on behalf of the British people.

Unfortunately this was what happened to Theresa May and she was granted no political room to manoeuvre, not least because the official name of her party is The Conservative and Unionist Party, the unionist part referring to the Democratic Unionist Party, and support from Northern Ireland has kept her in office.

Her Checkers deal would have left the Irish borders as they are now, but the EU in return wanted to control immigration and UK waters which are compromises the Prime Minister would not cede. The UK asked for a solution to the backstop issue but quite simply the EU has refused to compromise on the Northern Ireland border issue using it as a bargaining chip because the UK will not yield on immigration and fishing.

Sammy Wilson, the UDP’s Brexit spokesman said: “If we finish up with no deal it is a result of the intransigence of the EU.

Leaving the EU without a deal is much the same as leaving with a deal because the circumstances in most cases would be similar. Leaving with a deal means leaving the EU with additional benefits for both sides. The UK has already agreed to follow all the rules for non-EU countries for trading with the EU and has offered suggestions where EU vessels might fish in UK waters with permission. But this is not good enough for the EU, they want to actually own the legal rights to UK fishing territory.

EU LAWS:

Since the Treaty of Rome, EU laws have permeated UK legislation but other nations have been far more reluctant to accept the supremacy of the EU than we were. In order for EU laws to be incorporated into UK law the Prime Minister joined the European Community by signing the Treaty of Accession in Brussels on 22 January 1972. Parliament had prepared a short document beforehand of just twelve clauses called the European Communities Act 1972 which granted permission for the UK to be ruled by the EU.

At the signing of the Treaty of Paris on 19 March 1951, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was formed to aid in the re-construction of Europe. Following its success two further organisations were proposed, a European Defence Community and a European Political Community.

Negotiations commenced in 1955 at Messina in Italy; both suggestions were rejected and talks turned to economic unity which resulted in the Treaty of Rome 1957, which came into force on 1 January 1958 alongside the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC) which was agreed on the same day.

The European flag of twelve yellow stars on a blue background also emerged at that time; which had been designed in 1955 for the Council of Europe (CoE), to be adopted by the EEC and later the European Communities (EC) and by today’s incarnation the EU.

The Treaty of Rome 1957.

The Treaty of Rome brought into existence the European Economic Community (EEC). From 1 July 1967 it became the European Community by merging the ECSC, EAEC and EEC commissions. Following the Treaty of Maastricht 1992 it became known as the European Union (EU). The aim of the Treaty of Rome was to transform trade, industry and manufacturing and to work towards a unified Europe. That treaty today is called the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Therefore the two treaties which form the constitutional basis of the European Union (EU) are; the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union 2007 (aka Treaty of Rome -1957) and the Treaty On European Union – 2007 (aka Maastricht Treaty 1992). Both treaties having been renamed.

The Treaty of Maastricht 1992 laid the foundations for a single currency, European citizenship, the Customs Union and closer cooperation between police and the judiciary. These new areas of justice & home affairs were introduced into the scope of the new EU which saw itself as being built atop the three pillars of a new stronger union, controlling the financial and legal systems of member countries as well as the movement of goods and people.

There have been three major amendments: Amsterdam 1999, Nice 2001 and Lisbon 2007.

The Treaty of Amsterdam built upon the Treaty of Rome and increased the powers of the European Parliament, in particular to do with European Citizens and immigration.

The Treaty of Nice built upon the Treaty of Maastricht which had established the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European System of Central Banks to ensure price stability was maintained for the new Euro and thereby having a major concern in inflation, public debt, interest rates and the exchange rates of member states. The Treaty of Nice dealt mainly with banking.

The Treaty of Lisbon built upon the preceding treaties bringing them all under one umbrella. It was signed by member states on 13 December 2007, and entered into force on 1 December 2009. It established an even stronger European parliament of MEPs from member states that were not elected but selected by the relevant leader of member states.

The Treaty of Lisbon did for the first time give members the legal right to leave the EU and how to do it in Article 50. This brief document doesn’t describe the circumstances of a right to withdraw, it just sets out the procedure to be followed. Up until Lisbon members had no legal way of withdrawing from the EU other than by military force.

Gordon Brown signing the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007. He rejected a referendum and effectively signed a Constitutional Treaty handing over a swathe of powers to the EU.

INDUSTRY

Since the Treaty of Lisbon 2007, the EU has worked successfully to fulfil the trade objectives laid out in the Treaty of Rome, and then they started to focus on developing a European State by embedding a web of laws into the legal systems of member states, moulding them into principalities in a federal Europe.

The most common transport used for trade in the EU is maritime, air and road. So having joined the EU for trade reasons a new member finds themselves entangled by EU law encompassing almost every aspect the seas, in the air and on land. From the types of warehouse that can be used in road transportation, the way aircraft need to be managed at airports, the type of fishing vessels that should be used. Legislation overspills into areas that have not much to do with trade at all.

The Common Fisheries Policy was rushed, in time for when the UK applied to join the EU so that UK waters would effectively be inherited by the EU. The External Aviation Policy, the so-called ‘open skies’ policies of 2002, meant that member states could no longer act in isolation when negotiating international air service agreements. And as long ago as the Treaty of Rome, member states had stressed the importance of a common transport policy and so that was the first common area for the EU to exploit.

Looking at fishing for an example, what happened in 1973 when the UK became a member state, was an overnight change from being the largest fishing fleet in Europe to in 2014 when it was revealed that 23% of the entire quota for the UK would fit on to a single Dutch trawler, the Cornelis Vrolijk.

This was followed by the ‘discards’ scandal, forcing fishermen to chuck back into the sea millions of dead fish for which they had no quota and which was later amended so that over quota fish had to be brought back to shore to be discarded at a landfill site. And if that isn’t tragic enough, haddock and cod are being forced north as ocean temperatures rise.

The Cornelis Vrolijk. In 2014 it was reported that four ships like this, represented the total yearly catch allowed by the British fishing fleet.

It got much more ridiculous than that. In 2011 the EU claimed that drinking water does not ease dehydration, saying that scientists had found no evidence to suggest drinking water stopped dehydration. They even passed a law prohibiting manufacturers of bottled water from making such claims.

IMMIGRATION

Ever since the UK joined Europe it has employed the principle known as ‘free movement’ whereby EU and EEA (European Economic Area – i.e. Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland,) citizens can travel to and from and live and work in the UK.

Leaving the European Union (EU) will allow the UK to take back control of migration policy previously determined by EU law. It will be able to restrict EU immigration in a way that has not been possible for decades. The task of managing immigration completely changes in both scale and strategic importance once free movement ends.

It’s a fundamental point that immigration is dis-joined from racism so that policy is not associated with kicking out the races we don’t like and not admitting the races we don’t like – because it’s not about race preference, but about controlling immigration and its affects.

Another fundamental point to acknowledge is that it’s not a basic human right for any immigrant or refugee to settle in any country they so chose. It is a case by case situation where an applicant, whatever their circumstance, should meet agreed criteria and even then a cap has to be determined at some level.

This needs to be all sorted out if the UK immigration system is to have any chance of meeting the brexit challenge. The Government has pledged to have a new immigration system ready by January 2021 based on a points system, restricting access for lower-paid migrants and making things easier for higher-skilled non-EU migrants to enter the UK – known as the ‘hostile environment’ policy.

Over the last ten years the UK rulebook on immigration has quadrupled in size to more than 1,000 pages because new clauses are bolted on and existing ones chopped up, creating a web of cross-references. As a result there is numerous duplication and references to sections that no longer exist. This legal document which is used to make thousands of decisions a year is largely incomprehensible.

The Government has admitted (2009) that the complexity of the rules reduced the efficiency of the decision-making processes, resulting in delays and mistakes. It wasn’t so much of a problem until about 15 years ago when large numbers of EU citizens began to make the most of their ‘free movement’ rights and moved to the UK, mostly from the newer member states of eastern Europe.

The UK economy has supported free movement and EU migrants in the labour market to the point where whole industries have become reliant on it. Of immigrant workers, almost 1 in 3 are in food production, 99 in every 100 are seasonal workers, and they make up 15% of construction workers and 15% of science research workers.

In fact when the Government tightened rules on reducing non-EU migration, EU migrants increased to pick up the demand. This is the very reason Germany accepted so many migrants and has the largest amount in Europe because it has an incredible shortage of labour for its industries.

The Home Office runs the immigration system in the UK, it has 7,500 staff working in UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) with centres across the world, costing £2.1 billion in 2017/18. More than 600,000 people are estimated to have migrated to the UK between the start of July 2017 and the end of June 2018. Roughly a third came from the EU and more than 300,000 were from non-EU countries.

Some reports suggest that immigration control is too large in itself for the Home Office and that it should become a separate entity because it isn’t as efficient as it should be, The business world on the other hand sees the UK’s system as reliable, easy to use and fast, a reputation that is not recognised domestically with reports showing the UK public does not trust the Government to manage migration.

It is the ‘freedom of movement’ that came under intense scrutiny during the referendum in 2016. The UK has limited immigration controls at its 138 ports. Only UK or EEA passports or a visa can come through, the rest need to be scrutinised, a huge task that the Border Force can just about handle; Heathrow alone handles around 75 million passengers a year.

So border controls rely on intelligence from the EU and other security services. The real enforcement work is done behind closed doors on the border and Immigration Enforcement are responsible for removing those who are in the UK illegally. In practice, only a small percentage of illegal immigrants are pursued for deportation although the UK does remove more people than most other EU countries.

In leaving the EU it is important to maintain the flow of security intelligence and it would be bizarre if the EU decided to stop. In any case what Theresa May said in October 2018 does ring true:

For the first time in decades, it will be this country that controls and chooses who we want to come here.”

Theresa May, as Home Secretary in the Coalition Government, was tasked with introducing the two most recognisable features of the immigration system: the net migration target and the so-called hostile environment policy. The net migration target is based on the difference between immigration and emigration (even though the UK cannot control the numbers that wish to come or leave under UK law).

After more than forty years in the EU it’s understandable why many in Europe may want to migrate to the UK but when you compare that amount with those that are allowed from overseas then the chart becomes rather bewildering – just what have these great numbers to do with the UK and why are they being admitted wholesale. Is it any wonder that in 2006, the incoming Home Secretary John Reid, declared that the Home Office was not fit for purpose.

The aim of the hostile environment policy is to make life difficult for illegal immigrants by restricting entitlements to public services and benefits that tax payers fund and to restrict access to housing – all done in the hope that it will prompt illegal immigrants to leave the UK (which seems rather unlikely when crime is made the easier option).

The UK’s approach to immigration since 2010 has been simply to try to reduce it. Theresa May refined the routes to immigration appeals made by immigration caseworkers which saw an initial reduction in appeals. However this was balanced with a worrying increase in the proportion of appeals granted, so that by 2018, immigration tribunals were overturning Home Office decisions in over half of cases despite the reduction in the overall number of appeals. A new white paper on immigration was published in December 2018.

When the Government sees a labour shortage for example with the NHS, it removes the NHS from the cap so that more non-EU immigrants can come to work in the UK. Of itself, if it’s necessary this is fine but it does show how non-EU immigration is managed and today it is higher than when the Conservative Party formalised its target in its 2010 manifesto.

Considering the Home Office has been the largest recipient in Whitehall of additional brexit cash then whatever is in the 2018 white paper needs to be a realistic and workable solution. A lesson learned from the windrush was that good record keeping is essential together with cross-referencing capabilities, such that information on the HMRC database can be used to confirm residence for example. In the end the statistics will reveal the truth.

Nigel Farage giving Jean-Claude Juncker (President of the European Commission since 2014) a piece of his mind following the 2016 UK referendum and the decision to leave the EU.