Understanding Brexit 2: Can we Control Immigration and are consequences too large?

Global Trade is the main driver of net migration with recent short term peaks due to new markets opening such as Eastern Europe but this is passing its peak now before increasing migrants return to their countries with their new funds to invest and better job opportunities there now. 



  • The immigration increases have been down to UK government decisions they/we had control over not the fault of EU freedoms!

  • The UK was one of only 4 EU countries that Chose NOT to restrict transitional migration from the 8 New Member States in 2004, we had the choice.

  • The UK also decided to remove embarkation controls in 1994 to EU (Tories) and in 1998 to all other destinations (Labour).

  • Government economic policies are designed to attract immigrants and reduce UK citizen training.

  • Lesson - This is a problem of OUR OWN not the EU’s making.

A key proof of the difficulty of trying to control migration through rules is in the non-EU migration which has similarly risen with global trade even though we have FULL control of this.  Even Conservative Theresa May oversaw a huge increase in this as Home Secretary with ALL the powers she needed. Tough on words but no action except blaming the EU wrongly. The lesson is that even if we pay the price of Brexit as 3-5% of GDP reduction for full control of EU migration rules we will NOT reduce immigration much because we want the trade/tourism/spouses. We cannot just redevelop the industries we had 40years ago to be self-sufficient in most things in UK and accept the few % cost increase to do so, it would take us decades to do this, as Trump will also find.  This choice is the one the politicians haven’t been telling us about so it’s not surprising we are confused. Globalisation has given power to companies to shift things around rather than governments having power to refuse.


  1. Net nonEU migration where we already have FULL CONTROL is HIGHER than EU migration where we don’t. Figure 2&4 show this in ONS report  Figure 6 shows how EU migration increases are from Eastern European countries which have now peaked.

  2. We have had the high impacts so now is not the time to leave as “cost” will reduce with benefits of migrants remaining.

So the real question is less how to reduce immigration as to whether we want to reduce global trade? – ironic that the Brexit camp propose increasing global trade!  Their forays into India, Australia and Canada have all had requests for it to be easier for workers to come to UK.  This reinforces the fact that the choice is more Trade AND Immigration or LESS trade and immigration.

Immigrants do pay their way in tax and other benefits but the UK government chooses not to spend that money on the hospital, education and housing resources we need to cope with the numbers (again not the EU’s fault). What we COULD practically do is maximise recruitment of local UK people by INVESTING in training. The shortage of plumbers/electricians, of doctors and nurses and of engineers is due to short term UK thinking and will not be fixed by leaving the EU which will just worsen the problem.  Also new trade agreements with India which require free movement of labour will only make matters worse with even lower wage competition.  This all plays into the hands of the international corporatists. TAKING BACK CONTROL is more about UK investment in public resources and training for skills and productivity by UK businesses, reducing their interest in buying in cheap foreign trained labour and encouraging them to consider local communities in recruitment as they do in France and Germany.  It is also about US spending our money on UK sourced items rather than cheaper foreign goods if that’s what we choose.  We always want our cake and eat it – it’s not possible!

On Immigration it is time we fixed the underlying causes in UK, not just run away from symptoms and wrong attributions of blaming the EU.


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