I’m watching the London Debate and was interested to hear Tessa Jowell describe Labour’s immigration system as one that was “like Australia’s points based system but without the cap”.
I can’t see how that system could possibly work. Let us say that a points threshold was set and there just happened to be 1 million people in the world who met that threshold. Would we happily admit all 1 million of the if they chose to come? We might well need people with their skill sets but couldn’t possibly deal with a sudden influx at that scale.
“Ahh that would be easy” I hear you say, we could adjust upward the points threshold so that most of the 1 million would not qualify. “Good idea” I reply, “but how high should the threshold in this sector be?”. Without knowing how many people the points based system was designed to admit it would be meaningless to set a threshold.
A points system is a means to an end not an end in itself. There would have to be an overall limit on numbers which, funnily enough, is the Conservative policy.
By the way the Lib Dem policy in this area is a joke. They say that you can come to the UK but only if you work in Blackpool (for example), if you lose your job in Blackpool, then what? Are you allowed to look for a job elsewhere in the UK? Would you be deported? Would you have to apply for jobseakers’ allowance even though you could see job adverts in Manchester for the job you are looking for?
And what effect would their ban on labour mobility have on the salaries of immigrants in those areas? I suspect that a “I know you can’t get a job anywhere else so you’d better take this pay cut” type conversations may become fairly common.
The Conservative proposal is really the only workable one being put forward.