Bella Gerens, one of my favourite immigrants

So let’s cease the lies, shall we? Forget complaining about racism towards immigrants. Let’s all just admit that the vast majority of British people are xenophobic hypocrites who preach endlessly about social justice but then vote to prop up an immigration system that is manifestly socially unjust. Oh yes, everyone has a right to education, healthcare, a living, blah blah, except immigrants. They can get to fuck. They’re stealing benefits that should be reserved for native Britons. And if they come here and work and pay taxes, then they’re stealing jobs. And if they come here as independently wealthy taxpayers, they’re diluting the culture.

Immigrants can’t win. And the three fuckers leaders have made that abundantly clear.

If I had the vote, I’d vote for whoever acknowledged that the vast majority of non-European immigrants subsidise your fucking state and come here because they want to be part of British culture.

Bella Gerens, justifiably angry following last night’s debate.

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44 thoughts on “Bella Gerens, one of my favourite immigrants

  1. Forgive me for being a bit sniffy but I don’t see anything fine about Bella’s words.

    The vast majority of people in the country aren’t regularly offered much of a choice when it comes to immigration – never mind balanced information on the subject, which outlines the benefits as well as a problems. Isn’t that a more key issue than blaming us all as hypocrites?

    What is also completely missed is how easily the groups of immigrants delineated in that article meld into three other groups: the generally poor, working poor and the freebooting rich – each of which experience the same sentiments (if not always inflected in quite the same way). Taking up benefits, demanding too much and weakening the economy, basing themselves elsewhere and escaping tax.

    Immigration is just an easier paradigm to whine about because it prevents much deeper questions being asked when we can blame the Other in our midst.

        1. Absolutely. No other way to afford it.

          I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep this job, but I may be able to move within the same company. Otherwise, I’ll need to find alternative employment. (Anything at CentreForum???)

          My time in London is going to be very busy; work, study, party, sleep – that’s 6 hours of each a day, gulp.

    1. I’m not meaning to denigrate the British Public by quoting Bella, but frankly she’s expressed a lot of my exasperation very well.

      “The vast majority of people in the country aren’t regularly offered much of a choice when it comes to immigration – never mind balanced information on the subject, which outlines the benefits as well as a problems. Isn’t that a more key issue than blaming us all as hypocrites?”

      You are correct, but it makes me furious that so many people, often with little direct contact with migrants, are so happy to make life dreadful for them.

      Concentrating on migration is easier I guess than confronting class antagonisms or the structural problems finance have or the rents wealthy bankers can extract or illegal wars, but helping migrants is a very straightforward way of making someone elses life much better off without anyone else really suffering (on net, I’m confident to say everyone gains a little).

      You’re also right that there’s a huge amount of disinformation about immigration out there. While I’m feeling more rational I do sometimes think this is a good sign. No really.

      Look at it this way. If the Daily Mail were so sure of their position, if migrants were so bad for the UK then why do they lie so much? Every other story about migrants is either grossly distorted or an outright lie; the other half are stories which wouldn’t make the news if about an “indigenous” Brit. So there’s hope.

    2. Dave, as I see it, the British are offered as much of a say on immigration as they are on anything else – it’s called the vote. You have one every few years, where you get to choose the people in charge of such things.

      If the people you chose didn’t win, that doesn’t mean you haven’t had a say in it. And if the people you chose misrepresented themselves, or have lied or concealed vital information, choose more wisely next time.

      And if the media you consume are unreliable, consume different media. Try reading the Guardian, for example, or Unity’s excellent series about immigration at Liberal Conspiracy.

      But don’t complain about not having a say, because you have one every time you go to the ballot box.

      1. The vote hardly counts as having a say. Bearing in mind that at such elections we have to choose someone to represent us on EVERY issue – including ones that may strike considerably closer to home than immigration – it’s hardly fair to accuse us of being hypocrites when we select people for other reasons who can be bastards when it comes to immigration.

        I’ll be voting Labour this time around, doesn’t mean I support their stance on immigration.

        The vote is the bluntest of blunt instruments – and having a say can and should go far beyond it. In this country, it doesn’t. For which there are many reasons. Individual choices, moreover, are not made in a vacuum – and that’s as true when it comes to selecting one’s medium as it is over whether one favours immigration.

        1. Yes, Dave, but some British are hypocrites. Some British have been hypocrites in front of my very face. Maybe not you yourself, but if that’s the case, don’t take it so personally.

          And I’m sorry that voting preferences have to consider lots of different issues, and that it’s necessary to take good policies along with bad, more often than not. But I’m not sure what mechanism is better than voting for gauging a society’s preferences. Even holding a referendum on the subject would still be, technically, voting.

          I myself would obviously prefer to make judgments of this particular kind based on the revealed preference of market behaviour, but with immigration that’s sort of difficult.

          1. The revealed preference of market behaviour – as though the market doesn’t carry even more hidden biases than nation-based democracy. I laughed. But I don’t mean to take us off topic.

            Above you have changed your story from “the vast majority” of British to “some British”. Well inevitably some people are hypocrites. I’m not denying that. But this is a considerably weaker statement, and allows for significantly fewer conclusions, than the original.

            I’m not taking it personally; I don’t like libertarians and your husband has been more than nasty to me on occasion, and it all just bounces off. I simply had an objection to what you said, and was querying LO and others’ praise for it.

            I thank you for offering further clarification.

          2. In that case, I’ll stick with ‘the vast majority,’ thanks very much. If it’s not the vast majority, why are all the major parties (and some of the minor ones) banging the anti-immigration drum? I mean, could it be because they expect it will get them lots of votes? I reckon the elected classes have their finger on the pulse.

          3. Amusing as well, given what you’ve just been complaining about, that you ‘don’t like libertarians.’

            Does that go for all of us? Or just the vast majority? Or just some?

          4. In my view British people, and probably humanity in general, have a strong preference for “fairness.”

            Perhaps the enthusiasm for distributional fairness is tepid in some quarters but procedural fairness is fairly well embedded.

            You tell children a rule and then break it to their disadvantage and they’ll notice. If a child breaks a rule to their advantage they’ll do so secretly.

            When it comes to immigration the British people have a tendency to demand arbitrary action against migrants.

            For example, there’s a proposition doing the rounds that illegal immigrants who have resided in the UK should regularised. The logic is that they have earned their place. There’s a lot of knee jerk reaction against this which seems fundamentally unfair to me.

            Likewise, there’s a baying mob demanding immediate deportation of him, her and everyone, but we live in a country governed by the rule of law. It should never be easy for the state to use violence against someone and there’s little more violent than deportation.

            So this is the hypocrisy as I see it. Procedural fairness is important to Brits, and I think they abandon this principle of fairness all to easy when discussing migration.

  2. Let’s all just admit that the vast majority of British people are xenophobic hypocrites who preach endlessly about social justice but then vote to prop up an immigration system that is manifestly socially unjust.

    Wow, so basically ranting about racism by being prejudiced and racist! Not the sharpest tool in the box I’d wager. She’s also just basically saying that Britain would be a much better place were it not for all these damn British people living here! What next, France would be much better were it not for all those French? I believe the Nazi’s had similar views.

    If people are really that bad in Britain, why would so many, many millions of immigrants want to live in such a place? I mean Saudi Arabia is not the best place for Christians to live, yet I don’t see them heading there in their millions, yet these immigrants can’t seem to get enough of racist, xenophobic Britain!

    The irony is these kind of racist British haters don’t even think they are being racist. Poor deluded fools.

    1. Oh, don’t be so ridiculous. Not only are the British not a race, it’s not ‘racist’ to call anyone xenophobic or hypocritical.

      And everybody who’s read more of my writing than this one paragraph knows I’m about as far from a ‘British hater’ as it’s possible to get. As you point out, why would I be here if the British were uniformly crap? But I do get rather down on Britons as a group when they get down on immigrants like me, as a group. And frankly your defensiveness is unappealing. I notice LeftOutside, a Briton, didn’t take offence at my statement – because he knows he doesn’t do or say the things I was condemning. But perhaps you do?

      1. Bella your understanding of the word appears to differ from mine:

        Not only are the British not a race

        And the dictionary’s:

        1. The descendants of a common ancestor; a family, tribe,
        people, or nation, believed or presumed to belong to the
        same stock; a lineage; a breed…
        3. A group of people sharing the same culture, language, etc.

        it’s not ‘racist’ to call anyone xenophobic or hypocritical.

        But you didn’t call any ‘one’ person, you labelled a whole race. Making a generalisation of a whole race is indeed racist, regardless of what the particular insult or generalisation is. Racism is according to the OED “discrimination against or antagonism towards other races.”

        So please don’t say something, and then pretend that I am too dim to understand what you really meant and don’t try and excuse your racism by claiming that if not everyone is insulted, it isn’t racism, or worse imply that by seeing your insult, I am somehow racist or display some form of guilt. You cannot excuse racism by blaming the victim.

        Finally, ‘immigrants’ aren’t a race, but clearly you feel that Britons are racist toward them, so nothing you said really makes sense, nor is excused. 

      2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, some of the most racist people I have ever met are leftie supposed anti-racists.

        If I’d have said:

        Let’s all just admit that the vast majority of immigrants are xenophobic hypocrites who preach endlessly about social justice but then vote to prop up an immigration system that is manifestly socially unjust.

        OR

        Let’s all just admit that the vast majority of French people are xenophobic hypocrites who preach endlessly about social justice but then vote to prop up an immigration system that is manifestly socially unjust.

        OR

        Let’s all just admit that the vast majority of black people are xenophobic hypocrites who preach endlessly about social justice but then vote to prop up an immigration system that is manifestly socially unjust.

        Would that have been racist? I am getting sick and tired of this idea that British people and culture cannot be insulted, discriminated against or maligned and also of the hypocrisy of the so called ‘well-meaning’ and ‘well-intentioned.’ Just because you believe your views to be right and just, doesn’t mean that they are, nor that anything you say and do is.

        1. Good grief. I suppose we do, in fact, have a very different understanding of the world – the main difference being that the ‘British’ are a geopolitical nation, not a single culture, linguistic group, tribe, or anything else. The British ‘race’ did not exist 300 years ago.

          The other difference is that you, like so many people, believe that ‘racism’ is simply discrimination based on ethnicity, colour, or what-have-you. In fact, racism is the combination of discrimintion plus power.

          Nevertheless, this is all immaterial, because I never accused the British of being racist toward immigrants. Read the actual words before you start taking issue with them.

          1. The British ‘race’ did not exist 300 years ago.

            Ah, I see, so it is to with age then? Well Israel didn't exist 65 years ago, is it OK to be racist to them too? What about the US, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Turkey etc? Is it not possible to be racist against those nations either they are all less than 300 years old?
            Also by your rather warped logic, the British still don't exist and at the current rate of immigration, never will. You are clutching at straws trying to defend the indefensible. Clearly you're one of those people that like to sling around the word racism and believe that they themselves could never be racist. British people do have the same language and culture, so yes, we are a race and generalising a whole race is racism. 

            The other difference is that you, like so many people, believe that ‘racism’ is simply discrimination based on ethnicity, colour, or what-have-you. In fact, racism is the combination of discrimintion plus power.

            Ah, the old racism is about power argument, ergo those without power can never be racist? Rubbish, this is a tired old excuse used by people who think it is OK for them to be racist. I am pretty sure that despite whites no longer being in power in South Africa,  and people like Terre'Blanche not for a long, long time,  he was still considered a racist. What about the BNP, a political party without an MP, they have no real power, so they're aren't racist then? As I said, rubbish. Besides, power is relative. Racism is simply discrimination against or antagonism towards other races.

            Claiming that it is OK for you to say what you want about other races because you have no power is absurd and you know it. 

            Nevertheless, this is all immaterial, because I never accused the British of being racist toward immigrants. Read the actual words before you start taking issue with them.

            You called a whole nation 'xenophobic hypocrites', that is racist, pure and simple. I don't know where you are from but I am presuming Utopia, would you not consider it racist had I called all Utopian's a load of 'xenophobic hypocrites'? Yes, I thought so.

            As for British being racist toward immigrants, you didn't say it, but you certainly strongly implied it, otherwise what else could you have meant by:

            Forget complaining about racism towards immigrants.

            Whom were you claiming to be racist toward immigrants, if not the British?

          2. I suppose I shall have to say it again. First, the British are not a race. Neither are Americans, South Africans, or whatever. Those are geopolitical nationalities. (You may have noticed, for example, that the USA and South Africa are made up of multiple races.)

            Second, I never accused the British of being racist about immigrants. What you quote above is a reference to the faction on the left who do say that anti-immigrant feeling is racism. I don’t. I say it’s hypocritical xenophobia.

            Finally, your argument is incredibly stupid. What kind of capitulation is it designed to elicit? ‘Ooh, you’re right! I, a resident of Britain and married to a Briton and myself descended from Britons, am racists toward the British.’ Well, fair enough. If your definition of racism is ‘insulted my countrymen’ then I guess I am a racist. So fucking what?

      3. First, the British are not a race. Neither are Americans, South Africans, or whatever. Those are geopolitical nationalities.

        You seem to believe that race is all about colour, that isn't the case at all, as I said before. A race can be a nation and a people regardless of skin colour.

        You're saying that it is impossible to be racist toward South Africans and Americans because they are 'geopolitical nationalities'?  And you think that having multiple groups of people of different colours and creeds precludes that group from being a race? What about the largest race of all, the human race? 

        You're floundering around all over the place trying to alter words to suit your viewpoint. Not smart. 

        Second, I never accused the British of being racist about immigrants. 

        You may not have said that directly, but that is certainly what you implied when you said:

        Forget complaining about racism towards immigrants.

        If not the British, then to whom were you referring to as being racist toward immigrants?

        I say it’s hypocritical xenophobia.

        Oh, that's OK then. Ironically that is also what you are guilty of, by claiming that all Britons are racist xenophobes. 

        I, a resident of Britain and married to a Briton and myself descended from Britons, am racists toward the British

        Talking about incredibly stupid arguments, being married to a black woman would not mean that could never be racist toward black people, in the same way that having black best friend would not, nor would being married to a Jew mean that I cannot be anti-Semitic. 

        But you're not British are you, so yes you can be racist toward the British, besides, even being British doesn't mean that you cannot be racist toward the British. 

        …then I guess I am a racist. So fucking what?

        Then let me be the first to welcome you to the minefield that is discussing immigration in modern Britain. Frustrating isn't it? British people are not racist xenophobes, by and large most Britons couldn't care less where people come from, they just care about what immigrants are going to bring to the table, and how it is going to benefit them, and are tired of being labelled as racists. 

  3. Oh, I see you’re an immigrant, so let me ask you Bella, what attracted you to racist, xenophobic Britain in the first place?

    And, in light of the fact that almost 1million Britons emigrate each year because they don’t like what this country is becoming, and I have contemplated leaving myself, what makes you want to stay in such a disgusting and hateful hell-hole?

    If I felt as strongly you do, I am sure I’d be gone.

      1. Yes, they pretty much re-enforce my opinion.

        I’d vote for whoever acknowledged that the vast majority of non-European immigrants subsidise your fucking state and come here because they want to be part of British culture.

        The same racist, xenophobic culture she was lambasting earlier?

        I did not choose to come to this country out of romantic Anglophilia or anything like that.

        Precisely, no one ever seems to come here because they love this country, but because they want something from it. It seems when they don’t get it, they start throwing around racist stereotypes and saying things like “their pristine and delightful culture” with heavy sarcasm.

        I’m sorry this country isn’t ideal for her, but like a hotel, if you don’t like it, you become a guest elsewhere. Those that do love this country, are stuck here trying to sort out the problems.

        1. “No one ever seems to come here because they love this country, but because they want something from it.”

          Well that’s nonsense isn’t it? I mean lots of immigrants love this country, go to India for example, there’s loads of people who’d love to come here who look on our presence there with a lot of warmth.

          You’re also implying that if an immigrant has something then that’s something you can’t have, rather than an immigrant helping to increase the total stock of things that exist. Which is, well, wrong on every level.

          The point is Charlie, most of the things about this country are more or less perfect for her, but she is constantly told she is a scrounger, a thief, a layabout, a criminal, unwanted, etc. on top of that, it is made inordinately difficult for Bella to work here by our Byzantine (Byzantine?? Bloody middle eastern immigrant) immigration system.

          1. LeftOutSide:

            Well that’s nonsense isn’t it? I mean lots of immigrants love this country, go to India for example, there’s loads of people who’d love to come here who look on our presence there with a lot of warmth.

            I am not sure whether that is a serious statement (I’ve been to India and actually there are), humour, sarcasm or just plain old Brit bashing. I am going to assume one of the latter.

            Any animosity held toward Britain and Britishness, certainly doesn’t stop them moving here, now does it? Some of the largest migrations into Britain have been from the Indian Sub-Continent. But is that how you look at it? Pay back? Making up for past sins? Recompense to ease your guilty conscience? Anything is acceptable as we deserve it?

            You’re also implying that if an immigrant has something then that’s something you can’t have

            I didn’t say that, but if you mean a place in a hospital, a place at a doctors, a place at a dentist, school, job then I guess you’re right. Local government funding does not take immigration into account and so there are no extra places.

            rather than an immigrant helping to increase the total stock of things that exist.

            You mean like the prison population? Yes, they do that. In all seriousness though, some immigrants may very well contribute to the ‘total stock’, but the vast majority do not. Most are underpaid, or under the tax radar or send their earnings home, or are unemployed.

            Which is, well, wrong on every level.

            No, your logic is flawed on every level. Anything given to an immigrant over a Briton is taking away from the ‘stock’ because the state still has to support the Briton, they are not replaced, it isn’t a straight swap. If the Briton is left unemployed then that is two NHS places, school places etc being paid for by one worker.

            The point is Charlie, most of the things about this country are more or less perfect for her,

            Well I get the impression that she doesn’t much care for the British, or Britain, so I guess she’d fit right in. The problem isn’t the British people but the immigration system. She may very well be a much needed and valuable addition to this country, but this is what happens when you just let anyone at all in, everyone gets tarnished with the same brush when things go wrong (see British India above). The system has been abused and people that we may very well need and want pay the price, which is precisely why we need a stricter more robust immigration system.

            (Byzantine?? Bloody middle eastern immigrant)

            I know what you mean, and I know I am being pedantic, but the Byzantine Empire was a Greco-Roman Empire and not Middle Eastern at all.

          2. (Byzantine?? Bloody middle eastern immigrant)

            I know what you mean, and I know I am being pedantic, but the Byzantine Empire was a Greco-Roman Empire and not Middle Eastern at all.

            Thank you for picking up on that, you’re correct I believe, I was trying to be clever and failed. Shit.

            Okay, here we go.

            Yep, serious about India, some Indians like Britain, that’s one of the reasons they want to move here.

            Some of the largest migrations into Britain have been from the Indian Sub-Continent. But is that how you look at it? Pay back? Making up for past sins? Recompense to ease your guilty conscience? Anything is acceptable as we deserve it?

            See this post here:

            https://leftoutside.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/why-conservatives-should-care-about-immigrations/

            Not necessarily my view, but an interesting argument. I respect an individual’s rights. Included in that is the right to do things so long as no one else is hurt. The majority of migration falls into that.

            You’re also implying that if an immigrant has something then that’s something you can’t have

            I didn’t say that, but if you mean a place in a hospital, a place at a doctors, a place at a dentist, school, job then I guess you’re right. Local government funding does not take immigration into account and so there are no extra places.

            But that’s a problem with local funding. If you lived in London and a lot of people from Birmingham moved to London that same pressure would be exerted on local services. The answer isn’t to ban brummies, but to improve the provision of public services.

            No, your logic is flawed on every level. Anything given to an immigrant over a Briton is taking away from the ‘stock’ because the state still has to support the Briton, they are not replaced, it isn’t a straight swap. If the Briton is left unemployed then that is two NHS places, school places etc being paid for by one worker.

            That’s not true, immigrants produce things, so there can be more as a result of migration, even on a per capita basis. By moving from whereever they were to here they are massively increasing the productive potential so the world is richer, a lot of that accrues to the migrant but a lot of it spills over to everyone else.

    1. I’m having trouble answering your questions, Charlie, as I’m not sure I understand the point of repeating things I’ve said many times on my own blog solely for the benefit of someone who doesn’t actually care what the answers are and can’t be arsed to go and find them.

      But maybe that’s just because I’m a tool.

      And not the sharpest one in the box either, evidently.

      1. But maybe that’s just because I’m a tool.

        And not the sharpest one in the box either, evidently.

        Well I am glad that we have reached a consensus on something.

  4. Do we know where Bella hails from? Wherever it is, it’s unlikely to be anywhere that an unemployed British teacher would be able to simply fill in a few forms and then be admitted to look for a job, which is the case with HSMP/Tier 1 scheme.

    As long as you can quite nominal criteria to accrue sufficient points for Tier 1 you’re in, job or not. As far as I’m aware no other country in the developed world operate such a hare-brained scheme, certainly no-one else in the EU does.

    It’s hard to see what she’s beefing about.

    1. As a matter of fact, Dan, unemployment doesn’t come into it. I was only ever ‘unemployed’ because of delays in processing my visa application. Once that came through, it was less than a week before I had a job offer.

      I suggest that before you start making assumptions about my journey through the UKBA, you read what I’ve written about it. You might then know that I didn’t just ‘fill in a few forms and then be admitted’ – I was actually already working here.

      1. Bella, I have since read the sorry saga on your website and do sympathise, indeed even empathise, having gone through a similar process ‘in reverse’ many years ago in the US. I can’t imagine the process will have improved much in the meantime. I think we have to put it down to being just part of life’s rich pageant, and reconcile ourselves to the fact that immigration ‘services’ everywhere do not draw the best and brightest to their ranks, starting from ministerial level on downwards.

        But the point I was really making is that the former HSMP and the present Tier 1 PBS are (as far as I know) uniquely generous in terms of the open-door they present to job-seekers from around the world. No other country that I’m aware of (and certainly not the US or anywhere in the EU) provides the opportunity for so many potential candidates to gain entry through satisfying what are really fairly nominal criteria.

        You seem to have run afoul of the currency multipliers that are used to equate an applicant’s local earnings with the UK. As you point out, the earnings of applicants from first-world countries are converted at something close to market rate, while those from ‘disadvantaged’ countries like India and Pakistan are ‘grossed up’ several times. So somebody earning the local equivalent of, say, £5K in rupees will be credited with ‘equivalent’ earnings of around £25K for the purposes of his Tier 1 application. So while the earnings rule may penalise lower-paid potential migrants from first-world countries, it operates to the definite benefit of those from third-world countries. Hard luck on you for being white, I suppose. It’s anybody’s guess whether the system works in the way it does by accident or by design, but work that way it certainly does as the ethnic composition of the Tier 1 migrant stream clearly demonstrates.

        As for the remark about being unemployed, I couldn’t follow the timeline of your travails very closely, but I had the impression that at the time you submitted the Tier 1 application you were not employed in this country. If that was not case then I withdraw the inference and offer my apologies. That said, it is of course a salient feature of the Tier 1 system that an applicant need not be employed or even have a job offer, they simply have to accrue the necessary number of points and then they are in, job or not. It’s a little known fact that every non-EEA student who graduates from a British university has the opportunity to transfer to Tier 1 status, this ‘feature’ being widely touted as a competitive selling point of the British system versus others.

        1. Regarding the Tier 1, I did not fall afoul of any currency conversions. I was declaring my previous earnings in pounds sterling, because I had in fact been earning in pounds sterling – i.e. I was not only already employed in this country, I was gainfully employed in this country, under what used to be known as a sponsored work permit.

          What I fell afoul of was the fact that the Border Agency supplies incorrect information about what documentation an applicant must provide as proof of earnings.

          The real kicker is that when I applied for the Tier 1, I actually had another job offer, a job which I never even got to start because of UKBA’s cock-up. It was going to pay me the best wage I’d ever earned and be a stepping stone into heading up a department of my own. UKBA’s cock-up has cost me literally tens of thousands of pounds by preventing me from taking up that job.

          Now, there may be Tier 1 holders who come here without a job and loaf around for a good bit, but I wasn’t one of them. And I doubt there are many such people anyway. If they don’t earn, they can’t live, because they are certainly not permitted to live off the state like approximately 5 million Britons. In fact, of all the immigrants in this country, I suspect Tier 1 holders are a very tiny minority.

          I think it’s great that skilled immigrants from poor countries can come here on it – that some allowance is made for the valuelessness of their home currencies – but my original point about it stands: the Tier 1 application is judged almost exclusively on wealth, not skill.

          1. On re-reading your home blogpost I now see that you were citing the side-effects of the UKBA’s currency multiplier as a general matter and not in connection with your own case. I apologise for misconstruing your remarks.

            With respect to the numbers entering through the Tier 1 channel, according to the Control of Immigration Statistics published by the Home Office, these are not the largest component of the migrant stream by any means, but hardly a ‘tiny minority’. In 2009, around 42,000 migrants where admitted under the PBS for purposes of employment, which around 17,000 (40%) were admitted under HSMP/Tier 1. However that figure is dwarfed by the number of migrants already present in the UK who switched from some other category to Tier 1. There were almost 66,000 such ‘switchers’ in 2009 – presumably you were amongst their number.

            As for the lunacies implicit in the PBS we can all agree they are present even if differing on their manifestation. You are correct though in deriding the over-emphasis on paper qualifications. I recently presented myself at the online PBS Self-Assessment worksheet as a recent graduate in Non-traditional Medicine from the Swami Vivekanand Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (don’t ask me, I picked it with a pin!) in Karnataka, India. I attested to knowledge of English, earnings of £5K and the minimum required level of ‘maintenance’ money in the bank. I sailed through with more than enough points and could be on the first plane out of Bombay once the paperwork clears. I’m not expecting to need to use the qualification (probably not much call for it in the UK) but I’ll be earning good money anyway waiting on in my of my cousin’s uncles curry emporia in Brent.

          2. 66,000 switchers, eh? Do you know if that figure includes people who were renewing their old HSMP permit to become Tier 1s?

            I personally don’t see that number of switchers as much of a problem, for the simple reason that they probably, like me, were switching from the sponsored work permit and thus had obviously been working – and working enough to gather sufficient points for previous income. Waiting tables in a curry house probably does not cut the mustard there.

            At the end of the day, though, I don’t really believe the British begrudge hard-working migrants their hard work – at least, that’s not the kind of complaint I hear. Most people who have a problem cite things like over-population and immigrants who don’t intergrate or who actively espouse or promote conflicts of culture.

            To those last, I can only say that no stringent controls can effectively identify such people before they get here, and that blanket controls which keep everybody out punish the innocent as well as the guilty, so to speak. Over-population is certainly a concern, but it’s not caused by immigration. There is plenty of *space* in Britain, but cities in particular have more people living in them than the housing stock and the creaky public services can support. This isn’t the fault of immigrants; it’s the fault of planning laws, poor government management of services, and the peculiar condition here of having some highly-active economic nodes (e.g. London) combined with vast swathes of economic nothing (e.g. northern Scotland). Again, not the fault of immigrants. Even if you kicked out all 2 million of us who have shown up in the past decade, you’d still have those problems.

          3. The official stats don’t provide a breakdown, but I would be surprised if HSMPers were a major part of the switcher total, given the relatively small numbrs admitted under that short-lived scheme.

            I should have thought it more likely that the largest group would be people like yourself, former work permit holders whose job went away. Next biggest would probably be students.

            And it’s not the 2 million who arrived in the last ten years that concern, but the 8 million (including descendants) who have arrived since 1948. And the 14 million more who will likely be here by 2051 unless somebody puts a stop to it.

            The over-population question is being addressed in a separate thread, so I won’t respond to you on that here.

  5. Does it matter where she hails from? This is the thing which royally pisses me off about the anti-immigrant side. Just because they are immigrants – especially if they are from a country which doesn’t have the same rights as ours – are they not allowed to apply individual conscience and standards to this country?

    To those who answered ‘no’ to the above question, can I recommend: http://ifyoulikeitsomuchwhydontyougolivethere.com/

    This is, incidentally, also the problem I have with national identity. Apart from being easily rubbished on the grounds of basic historical fact, rather than wishy-washy sentiment, it just seems one more club which people like to use to simply ignore others’ opinions. As a British citizen, born in Northern Ireland but living in England, this is something I’ve had to bring up with my English friends now and again.

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