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Britain creates a more hostile environment for immigrants

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Just to clarify: I think democracies are more stable, the sense of communion is deeper and they are thus less likely to end in "Balkanisation".


In a monarchy-empire everybody is an equally rightless subject to an autocrat. It's an underling mentality.
In a democracy people feel freeer and more powerfull and crucially have a stronger sense of an exclusive identity.

guest-ojeliiw in reply to guest-ojeliiw

My above commentaries are complete bull, therefore:
Empires struggle with independence movements. Anyways, anti-immigration is strong pretty much everywhere. The only two exceptions I can think of are, when a group is invited in (carried by a sentiment of solidarity) and possibly, when the unification of peoples is voluntary. I think the multicultural EU might work (but mind you, already the Berliners are annoyed by the influx of people from the Stuttgart area, and in the almost proverbial melting pot New York, immigrants from Ireland used to have a bad reputation).
Hostility towards immigrants is so omnipresent in history, it looks like the normal state and successful integration as the special case, that needs explaining.


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If they didn't have (too much) sex, drink overly, abuse the speed limit, or even get a divorce before immigrating to Britain, they can certainly make up for lost crime once accepted.


TE is unsurprisingly reducing everything to economic gain or growth. And in real terms, the gain from immigration described appears to be miniscule (as shown by guest-nomonia below). Many people in Britain and in the West generally (including those that are immigrants themselves) are perceiving - if not actually experiencing, a decrease in their quality of life. For instance, having to deal with higher real estate prices and lower/flat wages. Net migration plays a role in both of these areas and people are voting against immigration wherever they can. Unsurprising that the British government is sensing the changing tide of popular opinion and enforcing the law in this way.

Polar_Bear in reply to Sargio

And in your view, you consider it proportional to deny citizenship to someone who has lived for 5 years or more in the UK and built their life here because they got a speeding ticket on the motorway, just because you believe it will contribute to house price growth slowing?

Sargio in reply to Polar_Bear

No, I don't believe that someone should be denied citizenship for one speeding fine and as the article mentioned, that decision was appealed successfully. It's unfortunate that the decision to deny citizenship was made in the first place but mistakes do and will happen.

Senor Droolcup

I'm confused. If Britons do not want at-will open-border free immigration with immediate government benefit, doesn't that automatically make them hate-filled, knuckle-dragging nativists, whom the Economist scorns and looks down upon with the outmust disgust? Whoops: my mistake. That only applies if we're talking about Americans. When Britons try to put mild limits on immigration, that only makes them "not keen on immigration". If they were Muslims, the Economist would simply laud them as "refreshingly moderate".


Immigrants keep Britain's universities top of the world. Without foreign students and academics, Britain's universities be fallen to second class ones like German universities.

Sargio in reply to sikko6

I believe your comment is misguided on several fronts. Countries like Britain, America and Australia attract hundreds of thousands of foreign students because English is the most important language on the planet (which the students would have a basic understanding of already) and secondly, student visas typically provide a smooth path to permanent residency. For that reason, German universities just do not hold the same appeal as British ones.

Your comment also suggests that Britain should be happy to accept the "best and brightest" from around the world. If you are looking to improve the lot of the majority of foreigners (not just the most acadamically successful foreigners), then surely starving their home countries of their best students or doctors isn't the way to go about it.

Polar_Bear in reply to Sargio

Just because someone emigrates does not mean that their home country is starved of talent. For one thing, their links to their home country remain, and many of them eventually contribute directly back to their country. Just check the educational history and work experience of many ministers of the countries you claim are starved of talent.

Cash remittances also generate business in the resident country and income in the home country, among other things.

Research also shows that when a skills void is left behind, the people that are behind rise up and fill it. Don't be fooled into thinking that all the smart and skilled people in India for example, have emigrated to the west. By population, the number of people with IQ above 120 (with 100 being average) in India eclipses the total UK population. They aren't all here.

Sargio in reply to Polar_Bear

Totally starved for talent "No, of course not" - but if one is claiming that foreign students are "keeping Britain's universities top of the world" then surely you must think that "the best and brightest in the World" are studying in the UK. Also, how do "cash remittances" generate business in the resident country? Fees paid to Western Union? Surely cash remittances are by definition a net drain out of the local economy.

Polar_Bear in reply to Sargio

Yes many people emigrate as students. Many go on to build lives outside elsewhere, but how many of Kenya's vaunted mobile payments ecosystem builders are western-educated? How many in China's formidable hardware industry? How many heads of central banks are Oxbridge alumni?

The list goes on. One doesn't become useless to their country of origin once they emigrate.


Don't worry, Ramadan is just around the corner. After another month of cultural enrichment, I'm sure people will all ask the government to be nicer to foreigners.

B. Hotchkiss

I wonder if the editors of the Economist have ever considered whether their constant barrage of pro-immigration articles might actually do their cause harm.

Polar_Bear in reply to B. Hotchkiss

It doesn't, because in any respectable paper, there are bound to be articles or perspectives which I disagree with. It don't react by cancelling my membership when I read something I disagree with.

PS.This is not a statement about my view with respect to the Economist and migration.

B. Hotchkiss in reply to Polar_Bear

Like you, I am not expressing here any views on immigration or on the Economist as a publication. Nor is there any danger of my cancelling my subscription. However:
1. A forced editorial position that results in articles that lack a sense of proportion, or rely on questionable logic or sketchy facts can damage creditability, especially with respect to other articles on the same subject.
2. Constant attention by the press to an issue can cause it to take on an exaggerated importance. People with little actual interest in the matter can let it determine whether they support particular candidates, political parties or referendum proposals.
3. Pushing a position too much and too fervently can result in a hardening of the opposition. A recent comment to another article advanced the hypothesis that one of the factors leading to the election of Donald Trump was progressive social positions' being crammed down the throats of people uncomfortable with them by the Supreme Court (and the "liberal elite") -- even though these positions were being gradually accepted anyway. Similarly, The press's actions in this respect can come to be perceived as ad hominem arguments against a particular segment of society, not unlike those that a couple of losing candidates in recent presidential elections were heard to make.


Britain is an extremely crowed country with general poor transport and social services. Reducing population increase is key to improving the lot of the average British resident.
Increases in GDP occur due to increased population in much the same way that increasing chicken numbers in a battery farm improves egg production. Not much use you are one of the chickens.
Our battery farm is seen in clogged roads, schools and hospitals.
Less people gives the breathing space improvements require. Encouraging emigration, reducing the birth rate and yes, stopping immigration are all very necessary in this little island overrun with a plague of human beings.

Sargio in reply to guest-nawnswl

Agreed, GDP growth via immigration does not guarantee a better quality of life for the individuals already living in that country. And from personal experience, even in countries with significantly larger land-masses than Britain, such as Canada or Australia - there are typically very few places worth living in, so all of the top cities end up being vastly over-crowded.


" A law passed in 2012 increased the financial burden further by limiting legal-aid payments to asylum seekers "

Our blogger sees immigrants' expenses as net losses.

But isn't the money not spent on quibbling over borderline immigrants as taxpayer money not wasted?


"The workers attracted by such hospitality were hardly scroungers. Between 2001 and 2011 they contributed about £25bn more in taxes than they used in benefits, according to research from Christian Dustmann and Tommaso Frattini of University College London."

So that's a net gain of £2.5 billion a year, or about £40 a year for each man/woman/child in the UK. That's hardly going to boost the lifestyle of the average Brit...

However this contribution of £25 billion does not include the costs of healthcare and schooling for these immigrants.... So when you include the other costs such as schools/ NHS/ policing/ roads etc immigration is a drain to the taxpayer.

It's no wonder that Brits want a "hostile environment for immigrants" when it's clear that the majority of immigration makes us poorer.

Come on Economist! You're better than this! Stop reporting biased research and treat your readers as if they have an education!


Perhaps so, but it still isn't as terrible as Saudi Arabia, Iran, China,
Russia, N and S Korea....
I'm still trying to figure if this "immigration fetish" is required to work for TE.

Polar_Bear in reply to Sargio

There are many reasons.
1. You studied here, and then you got a job offer on a good salary and you stayed.
2. You were actively recruited from abroad and offered a job with a salary that makes it worthwhile
3. Higher standard of living potentially than where you live currently.
4. You're fleeing persecution or war.
5. others that don't immediately come to mind.

If you're making the argument that we should treat any the people in this category with carefree hostility because if they are coming here, then clearly we're not doing anything wrong, then I don't see any merit in your argument.

Also, the government marketed the immigration policy as hostile to "illegal" immigrants. I hope that you have seen that it affects vastly more than just "illegal" immigrants, and that people are forced to become "illegal" using pretty light excuses and unreasonable evidence requests etc. And going to court often appears to be insufficient for getting redress if you feel you've been wronged.

Is that how you want your Government to operate? What if you find yourself caught on the wrong side of it?

Sargio in reply to Polar_Bear

Polar_Bear, you've proven my point. The UK has higher wages, is a relatively safe country, has quality institutions and is generally a pleasant place - hence the desire of many people to want to live there. However, the UK does not have infinite resources to accomodate the World, no country does. Of course there is a "lottery of birth" when it comes to what nation you were born in - but moving to another country is a privilege not a right (unless you are a genuine refugee).


"“Promiscuity or sexual preference within the law. Drinking or gambling. Eccentricity, including beliefs, appearance and lifestyle."
Good Lord!! This is an extraordinary rule. Assuming the meaning of each and every one of those words of exclusion are clear and known, does/do the creator/s of this rule EVICT any born and raised Briton who'd come under the coverage?
I have in mind all the folks depicted in Trainspotting, both I and II, one particular world-famous, world-popular rock band on whose members the Queen is proud enough to bestow knighthood, the entire troupe in Monty Python (can't get more "eccentric" than those) , Stephen Fry (Mr. Fry has a big enough heart he wouldn't mind his name being mentioned, I am sure of it), Mr Bean of Mr Bean fame (he's pretty peculiar in his TV shows)... and on the subject of sexual preference, should Britain delete Oscar Wilde from its roster of literary pride and joy? Come to think of it, a couple of its former PM's who were known for frequenting "extreme" paramours outside their marriage? Come to think of it, King Edward, the one who abdicated, wasn't so straight a guy .....
I think I'd better go back and read the article again. The "rule" is too weird to believe.

ashbird in reply to ashbird

Jeez.... I did go back and read the article again, and confirmed it was Ms. May and her bureaucrats who promulgated the rule... which lead me into thinking they pass for being pretty "peculiar" themselves... which leads me into thinking they are born and raised and..... I think I had better not finish the sentence, or I'll get a sentence.