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MPs propose ‘substantial’ devolution of immigration powers

Substantial immigration powers should be devolved to the UK’s nations and regions, with devolved governments or city-regions setting quotas and creating local integration plans, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Integration has advised.

In an interim report, the group of MPs and peers also said that migrants should be required to learn English either before they come to the UK or in language classes after they arrive.

The report follows comments by Dame Louise Casey last year which warned of “worrying” segregation levels, calling for more English classes for isolated groups.

Chuka Umunna, chair of the APPG, said: “It’s clear that immigration has impacted on different communities in different ways and the pace of change has alarmed many. The government has a duty to address the lack of integration of immigrants if it is to address this.

“We now need a meaningful integration programme which works for all parts of the UK and an immigration policy which allows all to celebrate and look beyond our differences.”

The group claimed that learning English should be an essential task for new immigrants as the language is a “prerequisite for meaningful engagement with most British people”.

However, Umanna stressed that integration is a “two-way street” with both migrants and the UK government having a responsibility to contribute.

There must be a “middle way between the laissez-faire multiculturalism favoured by successive British governments and the assimilationist politics of the French burkini ban”, Umanna said.

The APPG’s report suggested the geographic dispersal of migrants across the country, as the current ‘one-size’ model leads to lop-sided migration where new arrivals are attracted to areas where the immigration population is already high.

Currently, 70-85% of the populations in some wards in Blackburn, Birmingham, Burnley and Bradford are Muslim with pupils being from Pakistani or Bangladeshi backgrounds representing over half of the pupil intake of 511 schools nationwide.

It concluded that a new strategy of issuing visas specifically for certain regions or sectors, similar to a model currently used in Canada, would have a “positive knock-on effect” on the public debate on immigration, allowing the government to consider economic and cultural needs.

An Independent Age report in September last year revealed that limits on migration could lead to severe staffing shortages in the social care sector.

With net migration currently well above the national target of below 100,000, the government has promised new migration controls once the UK leaves the EU but has not yet outlined its plans in detail.

The Home Office said it was not planning to introduce local visa arrangements, but the department said it had made funding available to councils for more English lessons in addition to a £140m “controlling migration fund”.

“Our priority is to build an immigration system that works for everyone in the UK and delivers the control we need,” a Home Office spokesperson added.

(Image c. c. Danny Howard)

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Tony27nine   05/01/2017 at 12:05

I can see why this kind of thing might be being considered however I suspect that it hasn't been well thought through. What will inevitably happen is that immigrants will see the necessity of moving first to an area which has a migration quota to fill with the intention of moving on, once here, to an area where they will feel more 'at home'. In the case of a Bangladeshi for example. Moving to say, Devizes because they have a quota with every intention of then moving on to say, Bradford or Birmingham to be with family and friends. Policing the onward movement of immigrants will be nothing short of a nightmare.

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