Integration should be the focus of immigration policy, not posturing

Poverty and job insecurity are more strongly associated with support for UKIP than migration.

Poverty and job insecurity are more strongly associated with support for UKIP than migration

The media has made much of an immigration stand-off between David Cameron and retiring EU Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso.

With an eye on the Rochester and Strood bye-election, Cameron has put forward some vague-sounding suggestions to limit EU migration.

Barroso has responded by arguing that attempts to limit the free movement of people within the EU would also certainly be illegal.

UKIP must be delighted, as the argument backs their position that only a British exit from the EU can control migration.

This whole debacle and UKIP’s results in Heywood and Middleton show that a new approach is needed and one that helps communities manage migration.

Two Tory proposals are floating in the media and it should be stressed that these are not from the coalition.

One suggestion is that the government caps the issuing of new National Insurance numbers from certain EU countries, for example Poland. But this would only impact on younger would-be migrants who do not already have a National Insurance number.

Between July 2004 and March 2014 some 2.64 million numbers have been issued to nationals of Europe’s newest member states, mostly in the years immediately after 2004. Apart from Romania and Bulgaria, the numbers of new numbers issued to citizens of new member states has fallen since then. And many of the first migrant have returned home, temporarily or permanently.

Capping National Insurance numbers will have little impact because many would-be migrants already have them. It would also be diplomatically hard to single out countries for this policy. Why cap National Insurance numbers from Lithuanians, where just 22,440 were issued in 2013/2014, when many more (45,624) were issued to Spaniards?

Moreover such a move would drive some migrants underground, into unregulated and untaxed parts of the labour market.

The second mooted proposal is the introduction of a points-based system for EU migration, mirroring the approach to labour migrants from outside the EU.

Here points would be awarded for qualifications, language proficiency and a job offer. But the bar would have to be set very high if it was to bring down the numbers of migrants from countries such as Poland. Census data suggests that 71 per cent of those who speak Polish have a higher level qualification (A-Levels or above) compared with 47 per cent of those born in the UK.

It looks like Cameron’s proposals will not bring down numbers. Nor will suggestion to limit benefit payments to EU migrants, because there is simply no evidence of large scale abuse of the benefits system. EU migrants come to work or sometimes to study.

For anyone committed to remaining in the EU, new approaches are needed. These should address the root causes of anxiety about migration. May’s election results suggest that poverty, alienation and job insecurity are more strongly associated with support for UKIP, rather than migration.

The party did particularly well in the North East, which has seen very little EU migration, with just 16,000 migrants from new member states in the latest ONS estimates. The local authority with the largest population of EU migrants – Newcastle – was the area where UKP’s vote was lowest. In contrast, the UKIP’s share of the vote was highest in Harlepool.

The need to promote social and political inclusion in deprived areas that feel left behind was a key message in Revolt on the Right, an important book by Rob Ford and Matthew Goodwin. It is worth a read for anyone interested in migration policy.

But communities need better support to be able to manage existing migration. My work on integration and social cohesion suggests that two sets of attributes help this happen.

First, meaningful social contact between migrants and longer settled residents – at work, collage, parks and pubs – can help dispel misconceptions about migration and migrants.

Proactive local political leadership also helps manage the impacts of migration. This is important in relation to the messages that it sends out, as well as policy and planning to deal with sources of tension such as school place shortages.

Some areas have been able to manage migration well. Measures to ensure integration and social cohesion should be a core component of managed migration policy, not Cameron’s present posturing.

Jill Rutter is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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34 Responses to “Integration should be the focus of immigration policy, not posturing”

  1. Dave Roberts

    This article is drivel. I’ll dissect later.

  2. Guest

    Ah yes, can’t allow the darkies near proper people, what what?

  3. GhostofJimMorrison

    You mean you don’t share Jill’s Utopian fantasy where all races, creeds and colours live together in perfect harmony? Shame on you, Dave! 🙂

  4. Leon Wolfeson

    Integration is generational.

    Moreover, biogtry as you note has a very low correlation as to the actual % of immigrants in an area.

    The reality is that minorities – rightly – feel themselves under threat from the right and we’re likely to see less contact…Labour does not have the sort of crossover with UKIP which needs this sort of “policy” which inevitable leads to playing on the right’s ground.

  5. GhostofJimMorrison

    Since when have you been a proper person, Wolfey?

  6. Guest

    Yea, you need that bigotry and discrimination. Hate. Separatism.

    So, Darth Dave…

  7. Guest

    And there you go again, Darth Dave.

    “Good” old Untermensch finger-pointing from you.

  8. Dave Roberts

    It is difficult to know where to start taking this one apart as it is so ridiculous. Firstly let’s look at the writer. Ms Rutter as, on the face of it, never had a proper job moving from one government department to NGOs and think tanks.

    The main thrusts of the argument seem to be that everything would be OK if immigrants just assimilated with the rest of us at various venues. Se doesn’t seem to understand that most immigrants don’t interact and don’t want to. Given that a large proportion of immigrants are Muslims and women the idea of them going outside the house to socialise in pubs and parks is laughable.

    Can someone decipher this bit? ” Proactive local political leadership also helps to manage the impacts of immigration. This is important in relation to the messages it sends out, as well as well as policy and planning to deal with sources of tension such as school places”. I have read this several times and am still trying to figure out what she means.

    Her source for for there not being any large scale abuse of the benefits system is her fellow editor James Bloodworth and she goes on with yet another bit of gobbildygook, listen to this. ” The party did particularly well in the North East, which has seen very little EU immigration with just 16000 migrants from new member states in the latest ONS estimates”. Just how 16000 people arriving in a relatively small area in a sort space of time is ” very little” only an academic could work out. ” The local authority with the largest population of EU migrants- Newcastle- was the one where the UKIP’s vote was lowest. In contrast, the UKIP’s share of the vote was highest in Harlepool” I assume she means Hartlepool and also assume she has no idea of the geography of the area.

    As far as I can understand people are voting UKIP for a variety of reason but not immigration, and housing shortages, lack of school places or anything else are unconnected to immigration and anyone who suggest otherwise is a nasty racist and should be locked up. A rubbish article that doesn’t make sense either in its content or construction in English. Back to school on all counts.

  9. Dave Roberts

    Yes, shame indeed, and I’m a Guardian reader to boot.

  10. Dave Roberts

    I seem to recall that Eastern Europeans are white Leon.

  11. Dave Roberts

    Kenan Malik in his excellent ” From Fatwa to Jihad” stresses how successive governments and councils, mostly Labour, funded the separateness of communities by giving in to self appointed community leaders in return for votes. Bradford and Tower Hamlets are prime examples.

  12. jasonjasonjason

    Mass immigration has been a dismal failure there is not integration because numbers are so large there are just different nationalities creating ghetto’s and trying to impose their values on the UK

    Please sign. Petition to release Marine A has nearly 93,000 signatures- it needs
    100,000 to go to Parliament

  13. Dave Roberts

    If integration is generational then it hasn’t worked in places like the ones I have mentioned. In Tower Hamlets they are now on a fourth generation community which remains resolutely un-integrated.

  14. Dave Roberts

    As neither Jill Rutter or James Bloodworth have responded to any of the criticisms posted here, and by the look of it don’t intend to, I’ll sum up my position at least. I can’t do it for anyone else can I?

    The left has locked itself into an indefensible position on immigration which it will now find very difficult if not impossible retreat or regroup from. It now, after a period of being enfiladed, has woken at dawn too find the enemy has completely surrounded it. The higher command have managed to escape and are now re-writing history to exculpate themselves. I use military phraseology as that is one of my backgrounds.

    The left and left liberalism as represented in this country by the remains of Stalinism in the groups and individuals around The Morning Star and Trotskyism in various ever diminishing groupescules along with the usual suspect Guardianistas have never recovered from 1968 and Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech.

    It is has become an article of faith with them that any debate about immigration except to laud its benefits is tantamount handing over Czechoslovakia to Hitler, surrendering Madrid to Franco in 1936 and allowing Mosely to march down Cable Street in the same year. In short it is unthinkable and is not a matter for debate around dinner tables in Islington. What with house prices the way the are though the parties are probably in Walthamstow these days.

    Immigration is many things. For anyone who has drunk in a Wetherspoons it is Eastern European bar staff who seem to run the chain and are invariably polite and efficient. Certainly the case in Hackney. A short bus ride to The Mile End Road in Tower Hamlets is a scene of unemployed Somalis and others from the Horn of Africa several hundreds strong in the cafes and shops who will never have a job.

    The foreign medical and IT specialists who contribute so much to the health service and the economy are, by the liberal left, to be considered in the same way as the Roma camped out in Hyde Park. Faced with the overwhelming evidence that a refugee Iranian brain surgeon isn’t the same as a Transylvanian gang master running a string of pickpockets and prostitutes the same people are forced into the nonsense that Ms Rutter has written.

    It seems, at least from the title of this piece, that integration is the answer to the problems of immigration and not posturing. Quite who is posturing isn’t explained but presumably not Ms Rutter. Two problems here. No mention is made of numbers, of the sheer scale of the problem that is highlighted in today’s Guardian, or of the fact that for the last forty years successive governments and local councils have actively discouraged integration by their patronage and funding of ” community “leaders who could deliver votes in return for their being left alone to rule their communities.

    I don’t think I need to mention the consequences of all this but I will. The grooming scandals of some northern cities are a direct result of a fear of being branded a racist by pointing out that the perpetrators were almost entire Asian. The community leaders delivered the votes for Labour, the Labour controlled councils supplied the grants. The leaders reported that everything was fine and the Labour councillors said, well there you are, multiculturism in action and everything is hunky dory.

    In Tower Hamlets schools taught through the medium of Bengali as it was imposing a neo imperialism to suggest that it might be quite a good idea if people could leave school fluent in English. All of this reinforced, along with a refusal until recently to accept that hate preachers were at work in mosques and madrassers, a closed off world were any kind of integration was impossible.

    Having spent the best part of four decades promoting separate identities and playing the race card for all it was worth now that the whole multi-culti charade as been exposed for what it was we are treated to the thoughts of Ms Rutter who has decided that it’s time ” posturing ” stopped and ” integration” began. Welcome to the real world Ms Rutter and the mess we are in is entirely the making of people like you.

  15. Dave Roberts

    I signed that Jason.

  16. Leon Wolfeson

    You’re ignoring the far larger number of people from that background and region who have integrated, of course.

    Neither will 100% of anyone integrate. Look at how out of step your far right are…

  17. Leon Wolfeson

    Oh, you mean they didn’t deprive areas of funding because you don’t like democracy.

    You’d cause France, further separated communities, even ones like the French Jewish community, which is mostly secular.

  18. Guest

    The government has said, correctly, that interfering with the court verdict is inappropriate. And yet, for you, the identity of the victim is more important – after all, he wasn’t White.

    As you rage against the Anglo-Saxons for oppressing the Celt’s, and talk about your far right values which you’re trying to impose.

  19. Guest

    The people you’re spewing PC at today “never recovered” from a traitor calling for blood in the streets, which you evidently endorsed.

    Keep calling for the extermination of Celtic culture for your monocult to reign, like your beloved North Korea, as you blame everyone else for the far right’s thugs making communities draw back.

    That you keep chanting that it’s indefensible to support trade and to allow the 99% to cross borders, that you use the military terminology of your hostility to Britain…

    No surprise you’re on the side of Hitler, no surprise you’re on the side of Franco, No surprise you chant the same old lies, as you get rich off corporate welfare.

    You are the person in this thread who is not integrated, and you would force communities apart, not together, as you openly call for racial discrimination, and push for North Korea.

  20. Guest

    Ah yes, can’t allow articles.

    You need to start with accusing people of helping others, rather than being a non-working rich slob.

    Then you argue that the Other is evil, regardless, as you talk about your personal experience – that you’re hostile to anyone not White British, and wonder why they won’t mix with you.

    You make up crab about benefit abuse, to justify further cuts to the White British poor you evidently detest so much, as you try and deny the fact that your haters are strongest in many of the lowest immigration areas.

    You make up reasons why people vote UKIP, as you call for less housing, less schools, etc. and try and deny your racism as you are the one calling for jail.

    And of course you whine about your poor English.
    Go back to Monaco, rather than telling British people what to write and not to write. Over and over!

  21. Guest

    So you don’t recall now. Funny that, Darth Dave.

  22. Guest

    How else, indeed, would you find targets for your two-minute hate?

  23. Dave Roberts

    Which region?

  24. Guest

    Ah, it’s idiotic troll questions time I see again for you.

  25. Dave Roberts

    No, it’s a question Which region are you referring to?

  26. Dave Roberts

    No, it’s a question Which region are you referring to?

  27. Guest

    “I talked about a region but I will be a screaming troll and refuse to acknowledge my own post” time.


  28. Dave Roberts

    In English please Leon.

  29. Dave Roberts

    In English Leon.

  30. Guest

    “I CANP REEP POSTS SOS I SPAM” – Dave/LordBlagger

  31. Guest

    “I CANP REEP POSTS SOS I SPAM” – Dave/LordBlagger

  32. Guest

    “I NO REED POSTS” – Dave/LordBlagger

  33. Guest

    “I NO REED POSTS” – Dave/LordBlagger

  34. Tom Sanders

    None of what you cite is in the post.

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