Alliance Slams Restrictions On Immigration

Alliance spokesperson for the Economy Stephen Farry MLA has hit out at blanket UK restrictions on immigration and called for a more region-specific approach to the issue.

The party's deputy leader was responding to the long-awaited publication of a Home Office paper on Wednesday 19 December and criticised the "one-size fits all" stance taken by the Migration Advisory Committee.

The new strategy sets out plans for a future "skills-based immigration system", which Home Secretary Sajid Javid said would maximise the benefits of immigration while ending the free movement of EU citizens.

"Immigration is good for all of the UK, including Northern Ireland. It enriches our society, with immigrants helping our economy to be competitive and maintaining the quality of our public services," Mr Farry said.
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"Today's Home Office White Paper is self-defeating for the UK economy, and it panders to scare-mongering. The Migration Advisory Committee debunked many of the myths around immigration, but sadly, its recommendations bore little connection to its own analysis.

"Furthermore, little consideration is given to the particular needs of the different regions of the UK. In Northern Ireland, large elements of the economy including manufacturing, hospitality, and the agri-food sectors plus health and social care already have a considerable dependency upon migrant labour, including at lower skill levels."

The North Down MLA explained that the UK-wide approach doesn't address the needs of Northern Ireland, due to the "need for some devolution of powers over immigration to Northern Ireland to address local circumstances around salary levels".

"These different needs have already been articulated by a range of local stakeholders, including the joint letter from the then First Minister and deputy First Minister in August 2016 and a joint statement across a range of business organisations.

"Alliance has also raised these concerns directly with the Prime Minister, and we will continue to make representations over the coming weeks."


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