Throughout the Brexit debate, immigration has been one of the most divisive and emotive topics.
It’s not difficult to see why, is it? Behind government’s figures and Farage’s propaganda posters are real people with families, lives and stories that have crossed over country lines.
Now Home Secretary Priti Patel – who gleefully announced at Tory Party conference that she’d be ending free movement post-Brexit – has released more details of the “points-based” immigration system that the UK will be using in a year’s time.
Under the new system, immigrants will require 70 “points” to enter the country. They can earn these points in various ways, including speaking English, having a PhD and having a job offer in a required field.
Within hours of the plan’s release, it has come under fire for not being tailored to the UK’s workforce shortages. One of the most contentious parts of the plan is that is practically requires people to earn over £25,000 a year to receive 20 “points”.
Even Priti Patel – the daughter of immigrants – was forced to admit that her own parents wouldn’t have been allowed to enter the UK under her new plans.
And the Home Secretary isn’t the only person in this position.
Lots of people are pointing out that they wouldn’t be allowed to enter the UK under these circumstances, nor would their parents.
On Twitter, people have been sharing their stories, and those of their families, which might not have been possible if these new laws had been in place. It’s all very sad.
But all might not be lost. Experts have said that these plans are unworkable, as they don’t account for huge shortages in the UK’s lower paid NHS jobs, plus the service and agriculture industries. Separate plans might have to be drawn up for places like Scotland too, with Nicola Sturgeon saying the new plans would devastate Scotland’s economy.
So it’s definitely possible these new plans, in their current form, could just be a publicity stunt. Common sense might prevail.