Reverse Brexit, put centre stage EU’s managed migration policies
Wed 12 2018
• As a staunch supporter of a final vote, with the hope of a remain but reform victory, I was alarmed by Polly Toynbee’s red line that supporting “curbing” EU immigration leaves only the option of crashing out with no deal (This cowardly blunder may have saved us all from Brexit, 11 December). To ensure this doesn’t happen remainers must demand the EU shift its emphasis towards the managed migration policies already practised by many member states, rather than its damaging deification of free movement.
As former Labour home secretaries Charles Clarke and Alan Johnson have made clear, if there is a people’s vote then the millions who still feel immigration is inadequately controlled could be as decisive in a second leave victory as they were in 2016. Remain and reformers must make clear that EU rules already allow controls by insisting migrants be either working, actively seeking work or self-sufficient, and if not they can be removed after three months, assisted in some countries by a workers registration system. Funding staff and technology to enforce such measures will be crucial, as will migration impact funds for local communities still experiencing rapid local population change, even with such controls.
None of this would stop EU citizens coming here to work in jobs where we have staff shortages, particularly in the health and food sectors. But eventually, as Polly Toynbee argued last week, the key must be for the UK to train and adequately pay its own citizens to fill most such jobs.
East Twickenham, Middlesex