Tuesday, June 14, 2016
STATEMENT: Would Britain have MORE control over migration outside EU?
Would Britain have more control over migration outside EU?
1. Seems unlikely – possibly even less control. Vote Leave have advocated an Australian-based points system. The Australians brought one into place to increase migration – if migrants satisfied certain criteria, they had automatic entry – so a similar system along these lines would increase migration to Britain, not decrease it. There is a points-based system subject to a cap in place for non-EU migrants. I know about this – I had to pass it.
2. Then there is the issue of ‘free’ movement. Leaving the EU does not mean leaving ‘free’ movement – no country has had access to the single market without accepting it. For all the reminders that Britain is 5th largest economy, Germany is 4th and France is 6th – and together the EU is second only to the USA.
3. ‘Free’ movement is also not free. It is about the movement of workers, not benefit takers. Any EU migrant cannot claim benefits in the first three months arriving into Britain – and can be removed from Britain if no job or realistic prospect of work after six months. Existing rules might be enforced better (as I discuss in Becoming British https://www.bitebackpublishing.com/books/becoming-british) but there are rules for controlling EU migration upheld in the courts.
4. The UK has an opt out of migration-related EU policies. But we opted in to the Dublin agreement on asylum seekers. This means that anyone setting foot first in Greece or Italy, but makes a claim for asylum in Britain can be returned to the first EU country entered. If Britain left the EU, we leave the Dublin deal altogether. Britain could not return every asylum seeker to other EU countries as it would be outside the EU deal. This would increase the number of asylum cases heard – and supported – in the UK. It might also attract more cases to Britain as they would be considered here without possibility of return to other parts of the EU.
5. The UK is also a part of EU-wide intelligence on counterterrorism. No doubt, the UK would remain a part of some shared system, but it might no longer be part of the same regulatory framework for tackling terrorists if outside EU system. This would inevitably raise issues over time about how intelligence can and should be shared with the UK as a non-member.