ANALYSIS: How removing ‘unskilled’ European migrants could fundamentally change this country
The Government has finally revealed the details of its post-EU points-based system for immigration, including the removal of any sort of route to the UK for “unskilled” workers.
It is perhaps not the most eye-catching part of the Home Office overhaul, but it could very well be the most culturally significant.
More accurately it should be seen as the end for “low-paid” workers, as anyone who has utilised the skills needed to be a carer, worked in hospitality or cleaning will attest.
But first things first, I must declare an interest.
Like my predecessor in this role at PoliticsHome, Emilio Casalicchio, and thousands of others I am a product of the free, unrestricted movement of people across Europe.
Without it, I just wouldn’t be here to write this.
My French mother came to Manchester to live with my father in the 1980s with little English and no job, having met while he was on holiday and travelling through her hometown.
She was allowed the opportunity to build a career from the very bottom, and in time a family too.
She learned the language in my dad’s local, where she also pulled pints, which is why she sounds more Manc than me and I was born there, and she graduated from the cities’ universities, twice.
And over the past 30-odd years she has contributed an awful lot to this country (even if I am obliged to say that as her only child).
But under the new system she would have found that route closed off, requiring a job offer in a skilled occupation with a salary of at least £25,600, as well as fluent English.
Now people will ask why was the opportunity extended to my mother in the first place when it wasn’t to those from outside the EU, as people from other countries have long-faced similar barriers to arrival in the UK.
And by removing the pathway for “unskilled” workers, regardless of which country they originate from, it is making the overall immigration system fairer, and more importantly for a Conservative administration – reducing the overall numbers.
Because according to estimates around 70% of those who came to the UK from the EU while we were a member state would no longer be able to under the new plans.
Except that what in practise it will do is also fundamentally change the nature of the population too.
Boris Johnson, a noted Europhile culturally if not politically, and other senior Brexiteers have said Brexit means leaving the EU, not Europe.
But his plans will remove a route for the self-employed to come to the UK, as well as the parents of thousands of people in my generation who worked in restaurants, hotels and shops.
And to replace them with only a small number of high-salaried professional migrants from the continent is surely detrimental to the culture of this mongrel nation.
The Home Secretary Priti Patel said the move will end the era of cheap EU labour in factories, warehouses and hospitality, but that sentiment fails to take into account the value those people bring to Britain.
And I should know.