As you probably know, the general election took place in the UK on May 7th 2015, and Prime Minister David Cameron’s conservative party secured a majority in the House of Commons, with 331 of the 650 available seats.
Since 2011, Cameron’s position on immigration has been pretty straightforward, claiming that too big an influx of migrants puts pressure on communities. As of last year, the next immigration number of people who entered the country minus those who left was 298,000, over 600,000 coming in while around 300,000 people left. Cameron intends to bring back that number to the tens of thousands.
Every since the European Union has allowed its members to move freely to other countries member of the union, the UK has surged as a pretty attractive destination. Migrants enjoy a dynamic job market, and the UK is one of the few countries of the union that managed to make it out of the global economic recession.
Part of the population who relocated to the UK were actually UK citizens returning to their homeland (82,000), while 251,000 are EU citizens. Some of them, 177,000 just came to study, but chances are with bleak economic prospects in their countries, they will stay after graduation.
It is estimated that almost 5 million workers in the UK were not born in the country. That represents 16% of the workforce. As the government is targetting full employment within five years, part of the efforts will be geared towars limiting the influx of foreign workers.
The same way, Cameron is looking for foreign workers not to be eligible to benefits unless they work in the country for at least four years, and to be deported back to their countries if they do not find employment within six months. The same way, unless they work for at least four years, migrants shouldn’t be eligible to social housing, and have no job-seeking benefits. The number of non-EU skilled migrants will have a threshold of 20,700.
Another fear is that an increase of foreign workers will drive down wages, and it is a fact that the average wage has risen slower than the inflation rate in the past few years.
The government will look to limit the access of European citizens to the UK, especially the ones coming from the most recent members’ countries, that have more depressed economies than the UK.
At the moment, the majority of migrants come from the UE15 countries, while about 80,000 come from Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. The number of British citizens leaving to other EU countries has also risen from 154,000 in 1992 to 207,000 in 2006. At the moment, it is estimated that 1.7 million UK citizens live in other European countries, mostly in Spain, Ireland and France.
As the population is expected to rise to 70 million people by 2035, the country has to face new challenges such as providing education, housing and work for its growing population.
While students and young skilled workers seem to have a positive impact on the UK’s economy, part of the migrant population is also putting pressure on public resources.
Below if an infographic from Hantec Markets about the cabinet’s plans regarding immigration.