Friday 21 February 2020

Freedom from EU rules

The Prime Minister has consistently said that ‘freed of EU regulation’, the new UK immigration regime will be designed to attract ‘the brightest and best’ from the rest of the world.  There was, of course, nothing in the ‘EU regulations’ which ever prevented this – an EU-wide agreement on freedom of internal movement never prevented any country from seeking to go beyond merely ‘allowing’ movement and selectively encouraging some types of movement. 
What the EU rules on freedom of movement did do, however, was prevent the UK government from charging visa fees to EU citizens.  Freed of that ‘constraint’ on attracting certain types of migrant, the UK Government is now able to ‘attract’ those migrants it wants by charging them some of the highest visa fees anywhere in the world, together with an upfront charge for any potential use of NHS services.  There are those who might see this as a disincentive, but that fails to understand a key element of Tory philosophy, which is that people don’t appreciate something properly if they get it for nothing.  Only through paying for something – and the higher the price the better – will people understand the true value of possessing it.
Alternatively, it’s just possible that the targeted potential migrants will simply chuckle to themselves at the thought, marvel at the thought processes of the UK Government, and choose to go to Germany or France instead.  This interesting experiment in human behaviour is scheduled to start on 1st January 2021.  Results are likely to be quite rapid, but I doubt that any sensible bookies will be offering odds on the outcome.

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