The Leave Campaign’s Immigration Proposal

To day the Leave Campaign announced its proposal on how immigration could be managed if we leave the EU.

There are several problems with the proposal which have been picked up in various places.

* It entails rejecting freedom of movement with the EU. This would make it very hard to have a reasonable trade agreement with the EU countries (the EEA counties and Switzerland have all had to accept freedom of movement in order to trade with the EU) and would therefore have a severe economic impact.

* It is a points based system and these systems have a very mixed track record. Points based systems allow people into the county based on their qualifications and experience – the idea being to have the immigrants we want and exclude the ones we don’t. It is hard enough to do manpower planning for a company – doing for a nation is almost impossible. The result is frequent and gross mismatch of the jobs available and the qualifications of the workforce. We already have a points based system for non-EU immigrants and meant the NHS was unable to recruit badly needed nurses from abroad because they didn’t have the points. In Canada and elsewhere it has famously lead to taxi-drivers with PhDs. Immigrants from the EU who respond to specific job opportunities have an excellent record of being employed.

But the thing that really strikes me is that this is a proposal.  Normally we get proposals from political parties who, if they win the election, are expected to implement them.  Vote Leave is not a political party but they are acting very much like a party looking for power and this referendum is rapidly taking on the appearance of a general election. There is little doubt that Johnson and Grove are expecting to be senior figures in the government if Vote Leave wins – indeed one of them will almost certainly become PM. Given the split nature of the Conservative party and the majority in parliament for REMAIN they will need all the support they can get from UKIP and its ilk.  Where does this leave Labour members of Vote Leave such as Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart? They are effectively campaigning for UKIP.

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