We are being deceived – UK already has the powers to control EU migration

UK doesn’t use these powers because the extra jobs (2.2m), extra tax (2014= £14.71b less benefits £2.56b) and £50b a year spending keeps our economy going.

Introduction

 One of the four freedoms enjoyed by EU citizens is the free movement of workers. This includes the rights of movement and residence for workers, the rights of entry and residence for family members, and the right to work in another Member State and be treated on an equal footing with nationals of that Member State.

There are 4 major arguments in favour of stopping EU migrants exercising this freedom to come and work in the UK. Each of these arguments is untrue.

Claim 1 – “Inability for the UK to control migration into the UK”

The rules and safeguards for the Freedom of Movement can be found here

Summary:

A summary of these rules are:

Freedom for a citizen of another EU member state to move to the UK applies to

  • Economically active EU-citizens (i.e. working)
    • Plus their families if EU-citizens
  • Non-economically active EU-citizens for up to 3-months
  • Non-economically active (not working) EU-citizens longer than 3-months provided:
    • They can show they have sufficient finance
    • They take out a comprehensive sickness insurance policy
  • FoM does not apply to
    • Non-economically active EU-citizens without funds
    • Non-economically active EU-citizens without sickness insurance
    • EU-citizens who have no realistic chance of working
    • Family members of an EU citizen who is not an EU Citizen may reside in the UK but does not have an automatic right to work
  • Benefits
    • EU-citizens working in the UK acquire rights to benefits after working for a period
    • EU-citizens not working do not have rights to Benefits
  • The UK has the right to restrict FoM through:
    • Suspension of the FoM for up to 7 years from when a new member country joins by
      • Preventing/prohibiting movement or
      • UK can insist upon work permits for each migrant
      • Benefit/Welfare “tourism” is illegal

No-one has been prosecuted to-date as UK is not tracking the issue

UK has, on many occasions, chosen not to enforce these restrictions

 

There is a view that our politicians have either misunderstood these provisions or deliberately ignored them – read this blog from 2013 by Professor Brad Blitz for his view.

UK chose not to control the 2004 inflow of migrants

Certainly it is true that one of the sharpest rises in net migration came in 2004, when the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia joined. However it is also fact that the UK was one of only 3 of the original EU members to choose not to apply transitional restrictions on these eight countries   and as such the UK invited this surge.  They could have avoided it if they wished.  Restrictions can apply for up to 7 years after a new member joins the EU and there are provisions to restrict movement if there should be any localised “surges”.

UK does not know or track how many migrants are in the country

It is important to realise that the UK does not know how many EU migrants are in the country, as migrants are not checked or tracked. The numbers provided by Government are estimates only.  The total migrant population is measured through the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the Annual Population Survey (APS), which aggregates and supplements LFS data to improve statistical accuracy. The annual movement of migrants is measured primarily through the International Passenger Survey (IPS), which surveys passengers at UK ports, with additional data on migration to and from Northern Ireland and Home Office data on asylum seekers.

The UK could have managed the inflow of EU migrants and chose not to.

Claim 2 – “Need to restrict and /or eliminate so called “Benefit Fraud” and “Welfare Tourism””

An ongoing claim of the anti-EU lobby has been that EU migrants are coming to the UK merely to access public services and the host state’s benefits system.  Indeed the UK Prime Minister Theresa May, when Home Secretary, claimed that these citizens are “benefit tourists.” However, whilst this has not stopped Ms May making this claim, the British government keeps no figures on how many European Union nationals claim welfare payments in the UK and so there is no evidence to back these claims.

Actually, when checked then rather than being a “unacceptable burden” our EU migrants are contributing significantly to the economy, far more than their UK-native counterparts.

A FactCheck study on these claims showed that EU migrants rather than being a drain on the UK bank balance actually contribute significantly, far more than their UK-native counterparts.

According to the European Commission, between 2004 and 2009 free movement from newer member countries increased the GDP of the old EU member countries by almost one percent.

A further study showed that where UK-natives (during 2001-2011) claimed more than they paid in Tax the reverse was the case for EU Migrants who contributed significantly.

gif-test1

So there is no Benefit Tourism that the UK can point to however, even if there were migrants abusing the system as claimed then the FoM directive is clear. The directive enables Member States to adopt the necessary measures to refuse, terminate or withdraw any right conferred in the event of abuse of rights or fraud, such as marriages of convenience.  Article 35 of the directive expressly grants Member States the power, in the event of abuse or fraud, to withdraw any right conferred by the directive.  The Migrant could be removed from the UK as well as prosecuted for Fraud.

The problem would seem to be more one of lack of control by the UK Government rather than “Benefit Tourism” by migrants.

Claim 3 – “Migrants reduce wages and take jobs of the UK-natives”

Another false claim I’m afraid.

This paper from the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at UCL found that immigration depressed wages slightly for the very low paid between 1997 and 2005. But the overall effect over the whole wage distribution was slightly positive.

Another report looked specifically at the period when the UK experienced a surge of EU migration 2004-2006 and found “Despite anecdotal evidence, we found little hard evidence that the inflow of accession migrants contributed to a fall in wages or a rise in claimant unemployment in the UK between 2004 and 2006.”

effect-on-labour-2

Research commissioned by the Migration Advisory Committee found that “inflows of working-age EU migrants did not have a statistically significant association with native employment” between 1995 and 2010.

Finally a study Brexit and the Impact of Immigration on the UK concluded:

  • There is also little effect of EU immigration on inequality through reducing the pay and jobs of less skilled UK workers. Changes in wages and joblessness for less educated UKborn workers show little correlation with changes in EU immigration.
  • EU immigrants pay more in taxes than they take out in welfare and the use of public services. They therefore help reduce the budget deficit. Immigrants do not have a negative effect on local services such as crime, education, health, or social housing

Claim 4 – “Unfair pressures on the NHS and public services caused by this uncontrolled mass migration”

This would, on the face of it, provide the most pressing argument in the case against FoM.  Surely uncontrolled migration into an area could and has swamped local services and increased pressure on Public Services such as increased NHS waiting times.

Well, the first thing to consider is that the UK has singularly failed to apply the controls available to manage the movement of migrants, opting not to impose transitional restrictions in 2004 and failing to even track where EU migrants are. The truth is the Government do not know if this is an issue or not.

However, once again, facts disprove these allegations and a study of nationwide immigration data shows that immigration actually reduced waiting times for outpatient referrals. On average, a 10 percentage point increase in the share of migrants living in a local authority would reduce waiting times by 9 days.

A Channel4 FactCheck on the topic concludes:

“The Office for Budget Responsibility accepts the basic point that immigrants tend to improve the country’s finances. A major cut in immigration would mean tax hikes or more spending cuts, the watchdog has said.

This is because migrants tend to be younger and healthier, so they are more likely to be in work and paying taxes and less likely to be retired or to need healthcare.

HMRC recently said that recently arrived EEA nationals paid £3.1bn in income tax and national insurance in 2013/2014. They took out £0.56bn in HMRC benefits.

tax-2013

In 2014 all EU migrants paid £14.71B in taxes and claimed £2.56b in Tax Credits and Child Benefits meaning that they contributed a net £12.15B to the UK purse.

Of course, this kind of macroeconomic analysis cannot capture the experiences of people living in areas that have seen very high levels of EU immigration, so we can’t rule out incidents of pressure on local services.

Conclusion

I think it is pretty clear that there has been a concerted effort to show the FoM in a bad light and our current Conservative Government and Theresa May in particular must shoulder some of the blame for this.

The FoM has increased GDP (by an estimated 1%), has increased tax revenues (by a net £2b over benefits claimed), provided the largest source of labour for an otherwise impoverished NHS and also provided the freedom for 1.4m UK citizens to work or retire all over Europe.

The problems are in the main perceived rather than real and are exacerbated by the sheer incompetence of successive governments and the Home Office (again including the 6 years that Theresa May has been in charge). A failure to implement the available controls, manage or indeed even track the migration of labour into the UK. A shameful state of affairs that has contributed in no small part to the current Brexit debacle.

IT IS TIME FOR OUR MPS TO STEP UP AND FIGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY.

Looking for a Soft Landing?

Along with at least 16m other Britons (and that number will be growing by the day) I have no confidence that our current Government will be able to navigate through the Brexit nightmare without considerable help.

Please read and share if you agree with the blogs.

Contact me through @britainstays or via comments on this site if you would like to contribute.

Britain Stays!

Why is she always looking to rubbish their contribution?

Theresa May has made stopping EU FoM a red-line in the upcoming negotiations with the EU even , it would appear, at the the cost of loosing our membership of the Single Market.
There is plainly a large proportion of the electorate against immigration in general and against the Free Movement of workers into the UK in particular. However as Tony_nog explains in his excellent blog When is a Majority not a Majority? Brexit and Korean Restaurants there is no way that anyone can suggest that there is a majority in favour of stopping FoM at the expense of loosing our trading position with the EU — and it has been made very clear to all that the UK cannot have both.
So why has Theresa May taken this somewhat extreme position?
If one looks at her behavior over the past few years, it does begin to show a pattern.

2013

In April of this year Theresa May, when Home Secretary, claimed that these EU migrants are “benefit tourists”. When pressed by the EU for evidence of this claim it came to light that in fact there was no evidence to back these claims as the British government keeps no figures on how many European Union nationals claim welfare payments in the UK.

2014

It is now being reported that Theresa May tried very hard to suppress any positive findings in a report on EU migration. Theresa May faces accusations from within government that she tried to remove evidenceabout the positive impact of immigration on the British economy from a critical report that was published before the EU referendum.

2015

Again whilst Home Secretary, at the Autumn Tory party conference, Theresa May claimed that immigration is pushing thousands out of work, undercutting wages and bringing no economic benefit to the UK.
These are just not the facts, as any number of studies show. These claims are debunked in the blog Freedom of Movement isn’t the problem

2016

A new book, All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class, by Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman, claims May refused to support Cameron’s hardline approach to negotiations with EU leaders and rejected his plans to ask for an “emergency brake” on immigration — a stance Cameron described as “lily-livered”.
Cameron’s director of communications, Sir Craig Oliver, says in his exposé of Downing Street that the former prime minister’s advisers used the nickname “Submarine May” because she never came to the surface to support his efforts. In his book, Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story of the EU Referendum, published in the Mail on Sunday, Cameron’s chief spin doctor says the prime minister pleaded with May to “come off the fence” about Brexit.

How fanciful would it be to suggest that last June’s plebiscite is being hijacked to satisfy a personal vendetta?

Either don’t trigger A50 at all or at least build in a mechanism to stop the withdrawal if the exit deal not in the UK’s best interests.

If the UK enters negotiations with the EU without the ability to stop the process the EU negotiators will hold all the negotiating power.  All 27 remaining countries will have a veto and the UK will have none.

If we “just do it” and trigger Article 50 notification of the UK’s intent to leave the EU as the John Redwoods et al encourage us then we effectively trigger a Hard Brexit. As soon as the UK notify the EU of our intent to leave the EU under Article 50 (2) we effectively hand over all negotiating power to the EU. They could, in theory, just let the 2-year clock run down and the UK would cease to be a member of the EU and no longer a party to the EU treaties.

It is generally accepted that if the UK had a method of stopping the EU exit process (triggered by notification under Article 50) it would strengthen the UK’s negotiating position however the wording of Article 50 is silent on the possibility for the UK to withdraw it’s notification to leave the EU once given.

The Government have chosen to believe that this means the UK cannot withdraw notification once given. However as the recent Gina Miller case showed, this Government’s grasp of the UK law is based more upon how they would wish the law to be rather than what it actually is. There is a test case about to go through the Irish Courts to establish if Article 50 notification can be revoked once given.

I believe that eventually, the ECJ will confirm that the UK can revoke Article 50 provided it can show that it is part of our constitutional arrangements. Indeed the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution in— The Invoking of Article 50 12th. Sept 2016 states that the “UK will particularly strengthen the legal position if they enact primary legislation to define how they will operate the Article 50 process and the UK will have a strong case to argue that any mechanisms enshrined with an Act of Parliament form our “constitutional requirements””.

And we now have Primary Legislation before the House – the Notification of Withdrawal Bill.

To make sense of this process the Notification of Withdrawal Bill needs to be amended to have two checkpoints:

Checkpoint 1 – during debate/committee stages of Notification of Withdrawal Bill

As part of the debate the Government should issue details of the proposed exit plan. The most obvious method of doing this would be to issue a White Paper.

If there is no sensible deal possible then the process should end here and an expensive negotiations exercise is avoided.

It is there is the possibility of a sensible deal then Article 50 will be triggered and the negotiations will take place.

Checkpoint 2 – At the end of the negotiations

The Bill should specify that there will be a democratic decision taken whether to ratify the Exit deal or not. This might take the form of a Parliamentary vote, a further ratification referendum or in a General Election with the candidates in each constituency either supporting or opposing the deal on offer.

The UK may decide to continue with the exit terms negotiated and leave the EU.

Should the democratic decision of the UK be that the deal on offer is not in the UK’s best interests then the UK would be able to withdraw it’s notification and stop the withdrawal process.

Ratification by the UK

By providing for a democratic ratification process for the UK at the end of the negotiation process the UK will have the ability to stop and indeed step away from the withdrawal process should it be necessary.

As Sir David Edward told the House of Lords in May 2015** “It is absolutely clear that you cannot be forced to go through with it if you do not want to: for example, if there is a change of Government.” and the UK would remain in the EU.

*****************************************************************

References

*Richard Tunnicliffe discusses this in his blog site in an article Negotiation Brexit — Shades of Article 50 @howshouldwevote.

** The EU Committee of the House of Lords considered this question in its report on “the process of withdrawing from the European Union” published on 4th May.

A look at the positive contributions EU Freedom of Movement has made to the UK. We must stop the xenophobic rush to stop one of the most positive developments around Eupore 

Currently Theresa May has made stopping FoM a red-line issue even at the expense of the UK’s membership of the Single Market.   Without a healthy flow of EU migration the UK economy is likely to grind to a halt.

INTRODUCTION

The UK has 3.2m migrants from elsewhere in the EU living in UK.  2.2m of them are in tax paying employment.  EU migrants overwhelmingly contribute more to the economy than their UK native counterparts and take out less (mainly because on the whole they are younger and healthier).  Studies have shown that they do not drive down wages and do no significantly displace UK natives from jobs.  This blog looks at the positive contribution our EU migrant workforce make to the UK.

THE ECONOMY

A FactCheck study on these claims showed that EU migrants rather than being a drain on the UK bank balance actually contribute significantly, far more than their UK-native counterparts.

According to the European Commission, between 2004 and 2009 free movement from newer member countries increased the GDP of the old EU member countries by almost one percent.  The author believes that this estimate understates the likely impact on the UK GDP as with a total Tax contribution of £8.54B in one year these migrants  income would be in excess of £40B per year (assuming a 20% base rate of tax) and will be spending perhaps as much as £20B in the UK economy (on food, accommodation etc.) which equates to a 3% increase in UK GDP.

A further study showed that where UK-natives (during 2001-2011) claimed more than they paid in Tax the reverse was the case for EU Migrants who contributed significantly.

gif-test1

 

PUBLIC SERVICES

At a time when our UK native workforce have been taking out more in benefits than they put back in Taxes paid the EU migrants have put money into the economy, paid taxes far in excess of benefits claimed and perhaps most importantly have been providing the Labour to keep these services going.  This has never been clearer than with the NHS and Care workers workforce.  Without EU migrants theses services would grind to a halt – approximately 55,000 of the NHS workforce are EU Migrants  with almost 10% of our doctors coming from the EU and 75,000 EU migrants work in the Social Care Services.   Our public services depend on EU migrants by Alan Travis estimates that 600,000 EU Migrants work in the UK public Sector.

With regard to pressures on the NHS and other public services, any decline in services would seem to be associated with UK government cuts in the Public Services budget rather than from immigration. A study of nationwide immigration data shows that immigration actually reduced waiting times for outpatient referrals. On average, a 10 percentage point increase in the share of migrants living in a local authority would reduce waiting times by 9 days.

A Channel4 FactCheck on the topic concludes:

“The Office for Budget Responsibility accepts the basic point that immigrants tend to improve the country’s finances. A major cut in immigration would mean tax hikes or more spending cuts, the watchdog has said.

This is because migrants tend to be younger and healthier, so they are more likely to be in work and paying taxes and less likely to be retired or to need healthcare.

WE MUST APPLAUD THE POSITIVES FROM EU MIGRATION RATHER THAN LET THE ANTI-EU LOBBY PERSUADE US OTHERWISE THROUGH THEIR CONSISTENT TACTICS OF SHOUTING LOUDER THAN EVERYONE ELSE.