Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Immigration policy - for whose benefit?

They do play just outside the Vale, but I thought it was worth mentioning the plight of the Celtic Crusaders, whose torrid first season in the Super League was made worse last week by having six of their players deported, including captain Jace van Dijk and top scorer Tony Duggan, allegedly after playing on holiday visas rather than working visas two years ago.

The players, who, to be fair, were given until the end of the season to remain, have had their contracts cancelled by the Crusaders, and will leave the country immediately. They will then be banned from entering the UK for ten years, pending their appeals, of course.

While I have no doubt that UK Border Agency has acted correctly in this instance in enforcing the regulations, I believe that we need a review of what our immigration law is intended to do.

In recent months, we have seen girls from Patagonia prevented from entering Wales to learn Welsh, a married couple prevented from living in the UK because of her age under the Enforced Marriages Act and now the spine of a top flight rugby league team – and the only professional rugby league team in Wales – being deported, all by a faceless organisation that makes its own judgements.

Exactly in whose interests are these rules and in whose interests are they being enforced?

A large amount of migration (and as someone who has happily moved and lived in other countries, I have also been a migrant) is beneficial – for the individuals involved and for the countries in which they live.

The narrative in our newspapers has for too long told people that all immigration is bad and this has pushed people into the hands of right-wing anti-immigration parties such as UKIP and BNP.

The strange thing is that I suspect that most voters of either of those parties would support the rights of all three examples above to be here in Wales and participate in our daily cultural and sporting lives.

We, in Wales, the UK and Europe as a whole need a more dispassionate analysis of immigration and emigration and its costs and benefits, rather than ramped up right wing hype.

No comments: