We shouldn't kid ourselves that removing the rights of European workers will help their British colleaguesby Eleanor Penny / September 7, 2017 / Leave a comment
When it comes to forthcoming Brexit negotiations, the cat’s out of the bag—according to leaked documents, thousands of EU migrants face being summarily deported. As the government’s spectral plans for Brexit are gradually, painfully fleshed out, sneaking suspicions have been confirmed that the debate was not really about cabbage regulation or fisheries, but a proxy-vote on the acceptable level of contempt with which we can treat migrants.
According to leaked “highly sensitive” documents, the government’s Brexit plans include an immediate end to freedom of movement in its current form, along with a raft of measures putatively designed to curb EU migration.
What the measures propose
According to the leak, the vast majority of EU migrants will lose their right to settle in the UK. If they wish to stay for more than a few months, they will need a biometric residence permit. Low-skilled workers will be allowed to stay for a maximum of two years; high-skilled workers, three to five. Allowed, that is, if they can find legal work: residence permits will not be given to anyone still seeking a job, and residents will be given preferential treatment on the job market.
Combine this with existing limits on welfare access for temporary residents and slated restrictions on the right to family reunion, and life for perspective EU migrants looks pretty bleak. If the plans go ahead in their current form, new arrivals risk being bussed in short-term to plug gaps in the job market, stripped of social protections, isolated from their families, and adrift in communities in which they are unable to put down roots.
The documents claim that these measures are designed to defend the rights of British workers—with something of a schoolmarmish insistence that this is for our own good, as some bitter-smelling concoction is shoveled unceremoniously down the throat of the UK electorate.
In reality, however, the proposals are a rather transparent sop to hardline Brexiteers.Though May’s tenure as PM has been pockmarked with graceless volte-faces, she’s never wavered in her determination to deliver a ‘hostile environment’ for migrants—even before the reality of Brexit was but a glint in Nigel Farage’s eye.
Now, feeling her grip on the throne slipping day by day, she looks to outpace premiership rivals in the race to deliver the hardest crackdown…