The All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration, chaired by Chuka Umunna, has called for all immigrants to learn English and for city regions to be allowed to set their own immigration targets using a Canadian style region specific visa system.
Firstly, on the language requirement. In the past whenever Nigel Farage or UKIP even mentioned the words English Language they were roundly condemned as racist and divisive – I see no such condemnation of this ‘new’ policy, just goes to show how much influence UKIP has had on the UK’s political landscape.
Now we come on to the Canadian region specific visa system.
This does not give carte blanche for each region to control its own immigration, what it does do is allow regions to give extra weight to certain applicants that fulfil their specific regional needs using a Provincial Nominee Program. So, unless the government did something stupid, the SNP for example would not be able to just open Scotland’s borders to the world (although that does seem to be exactly what they would like to see). The UK government would still need to have control over the total numbers, otherwise the UK border would only be as strong as it’s weakest regional immigration policy.
But what of the Australian points based system that UKIP has been championing for all these years I hear you ask. Well, that also has a comparable regional immigration set-up called State Migration Plans. But this does not get a mention in the All Party report, even though the Australian system is referred to and you have to wonder why not.
Could it be that the members of the group know they are adopting a Purple policy, but don’t want to make it too obvious? I’ll leave you to make your own mind up about that.