“There should be quotas on immigration in the UK?” comment Essay

Submitted By piaofeidejie
Words: 1469
Pages: 6

In recent years, there has been a concerned debate on whether the number of immigrants should be restricted. Hatton (2005) asserts that there was a total increase of 113 thousand of the annual net immigration from the early 1970s to the late 1990s, and net immigration soared by more than 100 thousand per year from the trough in 1991-1993 to the peak of 1998-2000. However, according to the last UK Border Agency annual report (2013), net migration reduced from 242,000 during 2011-2012 to 153,000 by 37 per cent during 2012-2013. Following this trend, should the UK government impose quotas on immigration? It is often argued that if immigrants are not restricted, local jobs available for native workers might be restricted and the number of illegal immigrants may increase rather than decrease (Abraham, 2010). However, limiting the number of immigrants could have negative effects not only on the rights of foreign people, but also on the British labor market and economic development.

The first reason why the UK government should not restrict the number of immigrants is that the general rights of immigrants should be respected. Firstly, people who were born in other countries could have the right to freedom of movement in the UK for pursing a better life in the legal way, which means that everyone might have equal chance to choose where they prefer to live. It has been asserted that freedom of movement is the most significant and basic human’s liberties (Cranston, 1973).In contrast, quotas as a barrier might deprive many foreign people of this right, which could result in international inequality and injustice. Secondly, immigrants should have the cultural right not to be discriminated. It might be argued that quotas on immigration, to some extent, reflect the cultural discrimination of the host country. Gilroy (2004 p.102) asserts that Britain has long regarded immigration ‘as being akin to war and invasion’, and he also claims that especially for some ethnic minorities, individuals and organizations such as the British Nationalist Party believe that if black immigrants were expelled, Britain would be great again. Due to this situation, immigration control could make this situation worse because of the fact that it possibly offends against the rights of cultural minorities, instead of showing a commitment to culturally diverse rights. If the UK respected more the diversity of the cultures and the traditions, Britain might not deny the rights of immigrants from different cultural backgrounds not only to enjoy their culture, use their language and embrace their religion, but also to form and maintain cultural, linguistic and religious communities in a more harmonious society. For these reasons, it could be claimed that the immigration restriction has the violation of the rights of other countries’ people to freedom of movement and Britain may lose chances to fulfill the cultural diversity.

Apart from the offence to some certain rights of immigrants, the second reason why they should not be limited to move into the UK is that the labor market in the UK need immigrants who come from different countries all over the world. Supporters of restricting immigrants might argue that immigrants possibly enable the local labor market to be more competitive, so that they could lead to unemployment of native people, especially for low-wage workers. However, it might be asserted that for the labor market, immigrants tend to complement rather than replace the efforts of local workers. Abraham (2010) claims that in terms of lower level jobs, domestic workers might lack enthusiasm for them and even reject to do them as a result of the fact that they may consider these jobs either disdainful or worthless. On the contrary, many unskilled or semi-skilled immigrants possibly prefer to occupy these positions. Abraham(op. cit) further argues that they may fill the shortage of low-wage workers and then effectively strike a balance between supply and