Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Immigration myths (4): "EU=net migration"

The perception is that it's a one-way issue. It's not a problem if the Brits do the same in reverse. Because they're not migrants. They're EXPATS.

Labour aside, the daily negative bombardment about immigration is also centred around the European Union. Widely frowned upon for its unaccountability, the EU is also routinely slammed for allegedly contributing to wild migration patterns into Britain.

Indeed, it is undisputable that being part of Europe has made it remarkably easier for migrants from the continent to seek work and live in the UK. Since a number of Eastern European countries joined in 2004, hundreds of thousands of workers came in from Poland, the Czech Republic and so on.

But as always, the perception is that it's a one-way issue. It's not a problem if the Brits do the same in reverse. Because they're not migrants. They're EXPATS.

When you read that Britain should put up barriers at the Channel, or indeed leave the EU altogether, as often advocated by tabloids and at least one political party (the UKIP), no-one bothers to explain the repercussions it would have for millions of Brits in Europe.

In 2001 around 771,000 citizens from other EU countries (excluding Republic of Ireland) lived in the UK. No doubt the figures went up significantly since Eastern European countries joined. Sadly there aren't any reliable numbers, especially as most are here temporarily. We know that 56,000 people from eight key Eastern and Central European countries went back in the year to September 2008 and the trend continues in that direction.

According to the Institute for Public Policy Research, "a total of around 1 million people had moved from the new EU member states to the UK by April 2008, but that half this number have since returned home or moved on to a third country".

But let's ignore all that and assume that 1 million Eastern Europeans arrived since the 2001 census and never left. That would mean 1.771 million EU citizens currently live in the UK.

Still, that just begins to resemble the number of British migrants to other EU countries.

The figures speak for themselves.

A survey published by the BBC in December 2006 revealed that between 1.7 and 2m Brits live and work permanently in the EU. Spain alone is home to a staggering 761,000 British citizens, and the figures doubled in the last decade. The Brits are "outnumbered as an immigrant population only by Moroccans, Romanians and Ecuadorians", and bear in mind many don't register with the local town halls but still peruse local public services.

The irony is that the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the Sun and the Express all have "printed in Spain" editions available. They are the most popular papers amongst expats, so that many can read about the UK being swamped and taken over by migrants while they themselves can swamp and take over (literally) entire areas in Spain with very little levels of integration.

Many are doing exactly what they believe migrants to Britain are guilty of: living together, owning shops and not learning the language.

About 291,000 Britons live in the Republic of Ireland, 200,000 in France, while 115,000 live in Germany. Many more permanently live and reside in Italy, Greece, Cyprus, the Netherlands and so on. The figures are available here.

So what would happen if the tabloids or the anti-immigration lobby had it their way and the UK decided to erect immigration barriers with the EU? Do you ever hear about it? Would 1.7 to 2m Brits suddenly have to rush to embassies or local councils to apply for work permits, visas and various papers in the hope of being spared illegal status?

And, realistically, would the new British regime back home provide for such massive numbers to return home and place a strain on services, the housing system and the job market?


Helen Highwater said...

With regards to the colonial hangover, you do get a quantity of ex-British Raj types in Spain, who've never been able to settle in Britain. It's as if they're only comfortable in a simulcra of Britain with lots of sunshine.

Re the bilingual schools - it's a shame they demand them because from what I've heard, expat children who attend local Spanish-only schools learn the language very quickly and become bilingual - which is perfect, seeing as living in Spain, being able to speak Spanish may well come in handy. Those parents aren't thinking about the future of their children in Spain. They might not want to live in the expat horror holes for the rest of their lives!

But of course, some (most?) of those expats aren't interested in integration at all, and the sheer hypocrisy of it never ceases to astound me! I mean, it's not like there's enough room for them all to go and live in Gibraltar....

Newmania said...

Oh dear that old chestnut , well there are some countries that have an emigration policy but they are all left wing dictatorships so you may be in luck if Brown gets back in (Oh Lord save us ....) but otherwise this is a wonky conception of what a country is .
Do you own a house Claude ? If you do ,do you allow people to leave it if they wish , I hope so , do you on the other hand allow people to enter it as they wish. Less so I should imagine . You may not follow this but some people regard this country as not merely a slab of car park attached to certain entitlements but as a home. Naturally then , we are concerned with who arrives not who leaves . Can you follow that ?

Freedom of movement in the EU is part of the single market question and quite a complex issue as Labour is such an immobile market .It is far more nuanced that the main reason for immigrants today which is the endless family chain . I have no doubt that when Peter Mandelson told the newly unemployed then could look for work in Europe you wanted to lend them your bike , after all it worked for Mandy.
Other people have ties, families languages affections , that sort of thing . Do you have children Claude ? Would you yank them out of school ,and take them on an endless grape picking tour of Southern Italy where the equanimity you claim to have detected on immigration seems a little fractious today ...

Perhaps not but the negotiations over the operation of the free market are not something to be confused with the imposition of multiculturalism onto the country .
One of my many objections to your one man campaign of misleading false perspectives is that when you consider the EU for comparison you are considering a migratory unit with a long history of movement of people`s within it. If you look at a population map of the Continent it is clear that some areas are ultra populous and this runs across national boundaries . This was what you did not understand about the Lon/.SE versus Hoolland density comparison . Then you omit all the areas which are depopulating and imagine you have proved something . Nutty with bits Claude it would make sense if history started yesterday but that only happens in said left wing dictatorships

I do not suppse if we did leave the EU it would be any harder to go and work there than it ever was which was easy , nor do I suppose the Germans will refuse to sell us BMWs or that Spain will stop begging people to take their money to its vast undeveloped regions , but anyway we voted for the Common Market .We want Free trade and it is a negotiation . Perhaps you recall which party it was that was chiefly responsible for this Claude a thing called the Common Market , did you vote for entry , has anyone asked you ?

PS The fact that people are leaving is not a cause of celebration although we have always discussed net migration . In fact it is the rate of cultural change that concerns people and this is compounded by record emigration .

Bob Piper said...

newmania... what did you mean by..."Perhaps you recall which party it was that was chiefly responsible for this Claude a thing called the Common Market , did you vote for entry , has anyone asked you ?" Surely you know...

It was the... Conservative Party under Ted Heath which took Britain in to the Common Market - without giving the British people the couresy of a vote on it.

It was the... Labour Party which gave the British people a vote on continued membership of the Common Market.

It was the ... Conservative Party under Thatcher which negotiated and approved the Single European Act, which changed the EEC from a trading to a political club, (still no vote for the British people) and which laid the ground work for...

.... the Conservative Party under John Major to sign the Maastricht Treaty from which everything subsequently followed... (oh, and still no votes by the British people).

Newmania said...

My point precisely Mr. P , Conservatives , when they thought they were supporting free trade and not a socialist Empire liked the "Common Market" and joined up , with a referendum against the wishes of the Labour Party or at least those parts concerned with British Workers primarily .

I am not especially proud of that

Ceri said...

Newmania, Claude was talking about relative levels of immigration/emmigration. For you, this means left-wing dictatorships preventing people leaving the country. Now, this may be obvious to you, but you are going to need to explain your line of thought a bit more clearly to us, because I can't really see your point.
But you might be better off just dropping it, as you do everytime you are challenged, and starting off some other bizarre non sequitur.

A Shropshire Lad said...

Are you going to get bored and give up soon, Newmania?

You're all well and good in small doses but I wouldn't want you as a permanent commentor.

Newmania said...

Not to worry lefties .I am leaving you to stew in your own sanctimony, I feel rather overly "in my depth" shall we say

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...


Newmania is fucking off now!

Bye bye bigot!