Sunday, 23 June 2013

The UK: Only open for business if you're white

So today comes with the news that Theresa May, our glorious Home Secretary (eternal glory be upon her), is to start requiring all visitors to the UK from "high risk" countries to pay a £3,000 bond in order to enter the UK, refundable when they leave.

Sounds fine and dandy, right? Let's just see what counts as a "high risk" country...

...oh, I see. It means pretty much all of the African and Asian countries.

Now, aside from the racism of assuming that everyone from certain countries is automatically an immigration risk while those from other countries aren't an immigration risk at all, this is also spectacularly stupid from an economic point of view.

Take, for example, international students. Particularly those from Commonwealth counties like India and Nigeria.  They're English speaking so good UK universities are very attractive for them

Once here, not only do they prop up or higher education sector by paying extortionate fees, but they also often study high demand subjects where we have major skills shortages - such as science and engineering.

And if, like many students (booth domestic and international) they decide they want to stay in the place where they went to university, then we economically benefit from highly skilled graduates who help fill skill shortages and pay taxes yet are young and healthy enough not to cost us a lot in healthcare whilst having not cost us a penny to educate as children or as young adults.

Except now if they want to do that they'll have to stump up £3,000 cash first before they can even ever the country. So now they'll go to other countries instead and we'll lose out financially as a nation as we lose a key source of skilled workers and taxpayers.

Or consider a businesswoman in one of these  countries (countries which will soon eclipse us economically) looking to make an investment in the UK or to buy products from a UK company.

If she wants to come to the UK to negotiate a business deal or investment then she too will have to pay the bond just to get through customs. The very first message she'll get from us is that we're happy to take her money but we still think she's inherently untrustworthy and a potential criminal. Why on earth would she want to do business with us after that kind of an insult?

What's more, when one country places visa restrictions on citizens of another country, it is incredibly common for the other country to retaliate by introducing the same restrictions on visas for citizens of the first country. Which means that UK citizens wanting to do business in developing countries are likely to face the same obstacles in reverse - making it harder for us to do business in and with this century's new economic powerhouses.

In short, this kind of bond will severely limit our opportunities to do business with any other country which isn't an ageing, predominantly white countries with sluggish economic growth.

So much for the Tory claim that they want Britain to be open for business.

UPDATE: in fairness, I've been reminded that it was actually one Nicholas Clegg who originally voiced this idea. So it was wrong of me to give the tories all the credit when this Mr Clegg (whoever he might be) was clearly a major influence on this stereotypically tory example of idiocy.

1 comment:

  1. This is really insane. Business is meant for everyone.

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