Immigration: United Kingdom Essay

Submitted By mcmurdo1
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Pages: 3

Immigration: United Kingdom

The immigration policy-making process in the United Kingdom is centralized to a greater degree than countries such as Germany, Italy, Japan, France and the United States. Usually, decisions in this policy area are made at the cabinet level, primarily through the prime ministers office. This gives little opportunity for influence from other interested parties. The government dramatically changed its approach to immigration in 2008 with the creation of a Borders and Immigration Agency (BIA) (SAKAI ). The hope for creating BIA was to clarify lines of accountability regarding immigration policy implementation and to establish clear lines of responsibility. The agency will play a central role in immigration policy development and implementation while local governments are charged with implementing some aspects of immigration law. However, they have no ability to interpret policies. The judiciary has not played a role in immigration policy to this day.

The United Kingdom historically has been considered a model of successful immigration control. The UK has earned this reputation due to a marked ability on the part of the British government to prevent unwanted immigration through effective policy control. The British government had dealt with emigration rather than immigration until the end of World War II. Employment-based immigration in the postwar era reversed this pattern. Most of these immigrants came from former British colonies, and questions of immigration control became politically significant.

Immediately after World War II, citizenship policy for residents of former British colonies was extremely liberal, reflecting a continuing sense among the British that they had a special relationship with their former satellites (SAKAI ). The citizens of these former colonies retained full British citizenship, including the right to enter the United Kingdom without restriction. The economic conditions in the United Kingdom and the colonies served as highly influential push and pull factors for these people. The flow of these people was substantial in the 1950s and 1960s. The statistics peaked at over 90,000 immigrants in 1962. Then they declined gradually during the 1970s and 1980s to a low of 46,000 in 1987. By 2005, the foreign-born population in the United Kingdom was nearly 4.8 million, or 8.6 percent of the total population (SAKAI ).

Even in the recent recession, immigration to the UK is expected to remain at approximately 150,000 net immigrants per year (MIGRATION). In order to successfully manage these flows in a way that benefits both the economy and immigrants themselves, politicians are faced with the tasks of improving public trust, promoting immigrant integration, and establishing good governance practices, especially with regard to illegality.

The British National Party has publicly stated that immigration is going to ruin Britain.
"The current open-door policy and unrestricted, uncontrolled immigration is leading to higher crime rates, demand for more housing (driving prices out of the reach of young people), severe extra strain on the environment, traffic congestion, longer hospital waiting lists, lower educational…