- After Brexit, the “free movement” of European immigrants into Britain will come to an end.
- Non-European countries are likely to want new trade deals with Britain, just as the Leavers insist.
- But those countries will all demand immigration rights. India already wants this.
- Non-white immigration into the UK could increase because of these new trade deals.
- This, presumably, is the opposite of what the racists were hoping for.
A lot of people who voted “Leave” in the EU referendum did so because they want to see Britain take back control of immigration.
One of the requirements of EU membership is that the UK allows “free movement” inside Europe – anyone with an EU passport can live anywhere else in Europe.
Britain always had immigration, of course. But it was only in the 1990s that net inward immigration suddenly leapt from tens of thousands per year to more than 200,000 per year, according to the ONS.
The change was dramatic.
A large number of Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, and other workers landed in Britain in the last 15 years. Two-hundred-and-forty-eight thousand immigrants came to Britain in the year ending March 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics. Some neighbourhoods went from majority English-speaking to minority English-speaking within a decade. (The British took advantage too, and about 300,000 now live in Spain.)
At the same time, immigration from non-EU countries increased as well. Now, it is not uncommon to see people wearing strict, traditional Islamic clothing in the streets of some cities – a rare sight prior to 1990.
For many, the pace of change was disconcerting.
Playing on those fears, in 2016, before the vote, then-UKIP leader Nigel Farage unveiled a campaign poster showing hundreds of brown-skinned refugees tramping through Europe, with the caption “Breaking Point.”
The photo wasn’t from Britain – it actually came from the Croatia-Slovenia border during the height of the conflict in Syria. But the message was clear: Vote in favour of Brexit, and we won’t let these people in.
Some of the people who voted Leave did so because they’re racists, according to a study published in the British Journal of Social Psychology. Brexit, Trump, the rise of the AfD in Germany, and the 60,000 “white Europe” marchers at Poland’s Independence Day celebrations, are all signs that Europe’s white population is tired of dealing with mass immigration. And, to be fair, some working class people have legitimate questions about how the government is going to pay for all the extra healthcare and education resources that immigration requires.
Those people are feeling pretty pleased with themselves right now. After 2019, “free movement” comes to an end in Britain. After Brexit, the UK will be able to pick and choose who comes in, and be more selective about the countries we deal with.
In theory, anyway.
But racists will be in for a shock, according to YK Sinha, India’s High Commissioner to the UK. There are many non-European countries around the world who would like to do trade deals with Britain once the UK is out of the EU. And one of their key demands is going to be increased immigration for their people into the UK, Sinha told The Telegraph:
“You’ve all read about issues of freer mobility of professions. That is something right up there as far as India is concerned.”
“I’m not talking about unfettered access or unrestricted travel, I’m talking about movement of professionals, movement of doctors, technicians, engineers. I think both sides will benefit from this exchange.”
When asked about that, the Indian-born British founder of Cobra Beer, Lord Karan Bilimoria, told Business Insider’s Adam Payne that India will indeed insist on immigration as a requirement for a trade deal. He echoed Sinha’s words: “India will want the movement of professionals, the movement of doctors, the movement of engineers. Both sides will benefit from this exchange. It won’t be a one-way street,” he said.
That street will be paved with a trade deal, he said. He noted that Trade Minister Liam Fox was encouraging British businesses to export more beyond Europe.
“What trade deals has he [Fox] actually done?” Bilimoria told Business Insider. “The Indian high commissioner warned today that an agreement [between Britain and India] might not be in place until 2030 and said talks haven’t even begun. He said the agreement would have to be mutually beneficial and can’t be a one-way street.”
“When Theresa May went to India in November 2016 it was a disaster. It would have been better if she had not gone. In the opening bilateral speech she made, she didn’t mention the movement of people at all, didn’t mention international students, didn’t mention universities, let alone meet with the university leaders who were part of the delegation. And then the Indian PM – one of the most powerful people in the world – humbly said that the free movement of our people is very important to us.
Expect to hear more of this. The Brexiteers are right. A lot of countries outside Europe will want to trade with Britain when the country leaves Europe. But they will all come to the table with a similar demand: If we are doing business in your country, we will need to move there. Let us in, too.
This table shows EU and non-EU immigration to Britain for the last couple of years. Note that European immigration is actually lower than that from the rest of the world. Asia alone sends 110,000 migrants to Britain every year. The rest of the world sends another 57,000.
European migrants, of course, tend to be white, whereas everyone else tends to be non-white.
So the immigration pattern that is likely to develop after Brexit is a reduction in white immigration from Europe and an increase in immigration from everywhere else. Even if rest-of-the-world migration held steady, it would make up an increasingly greater percentage of UK immigration.
This, presumably, is the opposite of what the racists were hoping for.