While paying lip service to the economic contribution immigrants have made to the UK, you broadly welcome the conclusions of the recent Migration Advisory Committee report (FT View, September 20).
In accepting the report’s conclusions that you paraphrase by saying that “migrants have more than paid their dues in tax and contributions to the health service”, you rely on the premise that migrants owe dues.
People don’t “owe” states anything. People have an obligation to comply with laws, including tax laws, but this is a far cry from the intolerable notion that migrants are in debt to a state at all — or more so than the native population.
If immigration policy is to be made based on the assignment of a net present value of future taxes likely to be paid by immigrants, it would have been useful for you to have made reference to Citi and Oxford Martin School’s recent analysis on immigration by Ian Goldin.
The report makes plain not only the economic benefit to countries of immigration in general, but the overachievement in every field (economic, entrepreneurial, academic and social) of migrants compared with native populations.
The British are facing a delusional future based on the notion that the world’s highly skilled are merely waiting to be allowed the privilege of life in Britain, while the inevitable reciprocity in visa requirements will make British nationality the most inconvenient and restrictive of any developed nation.
Politicians and newspapers seem to have missed the irony that the “global elite”, the very “citizens of nowhere” supposedly and callously responsible for Brexit in the first place, should now be welcomed back, while the lower-skilled population should remain fully British and unable to emigrate to a better life.
New College Capital, London SW1, UK
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