The Migration Advisory Committee’s consultation on the level of the annual limit on economic immigration closed last week. The Committee were basically seeking views on the approach that they ought to adopt to the task they’ve been given by the Government i.e. to recommend a limit for the cap. Whilst we don’t agree with the cap on economic and principled grounds we thought we’d respond to this.
So far as calculating what the impact of PBS immigration has been on the economy and on services in the UK, we argued that they need to try to look at the dynamic effects of immigration to the UK, over a longer term basis. By dynamic effects we’re referring to things like trade openings arising from immigration, investment generated by it and the value of the training and skills we’ve received. There’s been a lot of research into the impacts of immigration but most of it has focused on short term static effects where the overall benefits have been modest. There’s quite a bit of emerging research that suggests that the longer term, dynamic gains from immigration are likely to be very significant. On the issue of the impacts of immigration on services, we argued that the MAC needs to look at future replacement migration required to sustain current welfare provisions. It’s worth taking a look at the report prepared for the UNDP that we refer to in our paper which basically estimates that in order to maintain existing social security structures demographic developments in the 4 big EU countries (including the UK) mean that we going to need to increase immigration to 9 million per annum in the absence of measures that for example all mean that we work until we’re 90!
We also of course argued that the MAC should mainstream human rights, and equality based considerations into the way it works. On of this, the MAC needs to think about the interplay of its cap with irregular migration given that there are push and pull factors that will continue to remain in play that will ultimately impact on irregular migration. You can read a copy of our response on our website here