As new statistics published by the ONS show another drop in the number of people coming to the UK from the EU to work, remember the government’s immigration white paper? It was originally due to appear over a year ago – but like so many other decisions, remains a casualty of Westminster disagreement and delay. The latest promise is that it will finally be unveiled in the “autumn”, a vague date meaning any time before December, provided warring ministers can agree on its details and publication. For businesses across the UK, who have spent over a year in the dark about immigration rules and costs they’ll face, this unconscionable delay makes it impossible to plan with confidence. We have been told to wait for the outcome of Brexit negotiations – since so many of the questions about future business conditions are tied up in the presently stalled talks with Brussels. Yet the UK’s post-Brexit immigration policy is almost entirely within the … [Read more...] about Britain can’t wait any longer for a post-Brexit immigration policy
Immigration and asylum
The senior civil servant in charge of immigration policy at the Home Office is to head the new Brexit unit at the Cabinet Office. Oliver Robbins, formerly a permanent secretary at the Treasury prior to his job at the Home Office, will provide the most senior support to ministers as they ponder the UK’s future relationship with the EU, as well as responsibility for the wider European and Global Issues Secretariat. Robbins had been second permanent secretary for borders, immigration and citizenship prior to his appointment at the unit, a signal that “Brexit minister” Oliver Letwin intends to put issues of free movement at the centre of his considerations. Robbins also has national security credentials, previously advising David Cameron and the National Security Council on the issue. The initial line-up of civil servants, which will include names from the Foreign Office and the Treasury, will be announced within days and it is expected that other experts from different … [Read more...] about Immigration official takes charge of UK Brexit unit
In the House of Terror, one of Budapest’s most popular tourist attractions, two mannequins’ torsos stand back to back on a rotating platform, one wearing the uniform of Hungary’s communist secret police, the other that of the Arrow Cross fascist party. They bear mute testimony to the traumas of 20th-century history in this corner of Europe. Mária Schmidt, the museum’s director, says she would like to show her display to Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, thus reminding her that in 1945 Hungary was occupied by the two most brutal totalitarian regimes of the last century in the space of a single year. This would, she believes, explain why the country remains fiercely proud of its independence and suspicious of “neocolonial attitudes” towards eastern Europe from Brussels. “We are Hungarians, and we want to preserve our culture,” Schmidt says, sitting in the museum’s boardroom. “We don’t want to copy what the Germans … [Read more...] about Can Europe’s new xenophobes reshape the continent?
In a threadbare youth centre in Bradford, Vie Clerc, who got off a Eurostar from Paris 19 years ago with £50 in her pocket and never left, laments the irony. “It’s the first one I’ll actually be able to vote in,” she said. “Shame I’ve never felt less British.” In a bright mezzanine office in Bristol, Denny Pencheva, who landed in 2013 from Bulgaria via Copenhagen and now teaches at the university, bemoans politicians “who use us to score their political points, but don’t actually have to consider us – because politically, we don’t count”. In a Manchester advice bureau, 49-year-old Hossein Elias, a restaurant worker who came in 2013 on an Italian passport because his Bangladeshi parents settled in Vicenza in the early 90s, said it would solve nothing. “Britain was big once, but not now,” he said. “You need friends. Five sticks you cannot break; one stick, you can. Brexit’s stupid.” … [Read more...] about ‘Politically we don’t count’: EU citizens fear for future in UK
Having grown up just after the second world war, I’ve always wondered what I would have done if I’d known that Jews were being herded into (let’s call them) mass detention centers. What if I’d been aware that this was happening in my country? Now that people are being herded into mass detention centers in my country, now that children are being kept in cages, I have – like it or not – been given a chance to find out what I would have done. If there had been Facebook in the early 1940s, I would have posted on Facebook. I would have written opinion pieces from the safe distance of my study. I would have donated to humanitarian and legal aid organizations. I would even have traveled to Texas to hear the stories of asylum seekers and witness a trial in which 40 immigrants, some of whom had lived here for years, were all deported at once. I would have felt haunted, continually. Haunted and obsessed. And none of these things would have stopped the mass … [Read more...] about If we want to help migrants, it’s time to move from outrage to action