Passport control at Gatwick airport. ‘It is hard to celebrate evidence that Britain might be chasing away workers who brought valuable skills to the economy.’ Photo Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The Guardian view on migration: evidence trumps prejudice

Article in The Guardian
25 August, 2017

Again, prejudice and fantasies need to be combatted by facts. But, to win hearts and minds, politicians need also to passionately embrace mobility and diversity, and campaign in their favour.

“The volume of immigration is a measure of a country’s attractiveness to foreigners. It follows that a political strategy of reducing net migration involves making the UK less appealing as a place to live and work. A strict border regime can impede the daily flow, but it also contributes to a culture of insularity that discourages outsiders from wanting to get in. A more efficient way to achieve the same goal is economic failure. Net migration to the UK rose through the boom at the turn of the century and fell back in the recession that followed the financial crisis. It rose again during the recovery, partly because UK growth outperformed a stagnating eurozone…

Resentment of high levels of immigration was the leading driver for millions of leave voters, so a migrant “Brexodus” can be taken as a sign that their will is being enacted. But it is hard to celebrate evidence that Britain might be chasing away workers who brought valuable skills to the economy – and made financial and cultural contributions, too”

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