14 January 2014
Amidst talks of further migration into the UK William Hague has said today (14 January 2014) that people are moving into the EU to take advantage of benefit systems despite the overwhelming evidence that this is untrue.
His comments came after David Cameron recently criticised the previous Labour government for not imposing work restrictions on several eastern European countries including Poland.
“Transitional controls were lifted at an early stage, were not imposed on many of the eastern European countries when they joined the EU. Many of us would think that had been a mistake, we should have had those transitional controls,” Hague said on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.
He made it clear that he disagreed with the view of fellow Tory Kenneth Clarke, who told the Financial Times that the debate on immigration is “rather typical rightwing, nationalist escapism”.
With the government spinning this myth, it is ironic even an official independent fiscal watchdog, set up by government to advise on public finances, has come out praising the benefits of migration.
Robert Chote, Chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility, told the Treasury Select Committee that immigration is beneficial to the economy for multiple reasons, mostly because of the fact that arrivals into the UK are often of working age and will be eligible to contribute to taxes.
The IER believes that workers coming into the UK are of great help economically and provide key skills. It disagrees that migrants should be seen as a threat to the UK and workplaces, but rather that the real issue lies with ineffectual employment law that fails to protect migrant workers, thus opening the door to exploitation that undermines the rights of all UK workers.
In order to provide a safer work environment for those coming into the UK and consequently prevent inequality and exploitation at work, a rights-based model on immigration should be adopted, aiming to reduce the vulnerability of migrants and thus level the playing field for all workers in the UK.
Keith Vaz, Labour MP, appeared to come out in agreement with such a model this week, stating: “I don’t think my work is going to be done until we have a country that accepts everyone. Britain is the most marvellously tolerant country in the world.”
The IER’s analysis of this issue is available in our latest publication ‘Labour migration in hard times: Reforming Labour market regulations?’, in which the UK’s leading experts on migrant workers discuss migration, the hardships and exploitation faced by overseas employees and the need for regulatory reform.