Tories announce ‘biggest cut in net migration’ and we’re punching holes in their plan

Rishi Sunak and his priorities: who would have thought that stopping the boats would contradict his plan to reduce inflation?

The following is misleading.

If you’re announcing a plan to cut net migration into the UK, then it hasn’t happened yet. The following tweet is therefore misleading.

There’s no way of telling whether these measures will actually bring inward migration down.

Also, there’s the issue of unforeseen consequences.

First, here’s another misleading message from Rishi Sunak. See my response to understand why it’s wrong:

Again, to remind you: The treaty with Rwanda that James Cleverly was sent to sign has nothing to do with stopping criminal gangs from transporting refugees (or whoever) across the English Channel.

It is merely an attempt to bypass the Supreme Court’s ruling that Rwanda is not a safe place to send them once they have arrived in the UK.

Now, about those unforeseen consequences…

When Sunak says he will “end abuse via the Health and Care Visa, he means he will prevent care workers moving to the UK for employment from bringing their families. This will also apply to overseas students.

This will turn away expertise that the UK needs.

Tory voices like that of Brendan Clarke-Smith are already whispering that foreign workers will still come, because the UK is “a fantastic country”:

Is it?

It seems unlikely that highly-qualified people, who could earn a better living anywhere else in the world, would willingly give up their kith and kin to work in a country that will not appreciate their efforts and that – certainly in the case of health and care – treats its own people so badly.

No worries, though! Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick reckons workers from the UK will fill the gaps:

He said UK businesses would no longer have the option of hiring cheap labour from overseas, meaning they would have to “invest in the domestic workforce”.

Why should they?

Big businesses are more likely to preserve their profits by moving out of the UK altogether and hiring all that cheap foreign labour abroad, where it’s still cheap.

And small or medium-sized enterprises are not likely to be able to afford the kind of investment Jenrick is suggesting.

He went on to appear on Sky News, supporting the remaining point in the five-point plan – ensuring that people sponsoring dependents, who do come with them to the UK, can support them financially:

So the overall implication of this plan is that it is an attempt to nudge businesses into paying higher salaries to people working in the UK.

This appears to be an attempt to steal a policy from Reform UK, whose leader Richard Tice had already spoken in favour of higher wages and investment in people:

Opinion polls have suggested that right-wing voters are, themselves, migrating – from the Tories to Reform UK. This anti-immigration policy may be an attempt to woo them back.

But – perhaps crucially – this is a policy turnaround for the Tories, who have previously argued that increased pay for working people is inflationary:

TL;DR: this supposedly anti-immigration policy seems to be intended more as a way of stemming the flow of voters to Reform UK. Its stated aim of increasing pay contradicts Tory policy on inflation and is more likely to move businesses out of the UK than bring investment in.