ITALY BEARS BRUNT OF ASYLUM SEEKERSÂ Â Â Â
Burden should be shared, minister tells EU conference
* Â But they’re not asylum seekers. If they are not Musulmanic invaders, they are economic refugees. And Europe has no obligation whatsoever to take them in…
(ANSA) – Paris, September 8 – Italy should not bear the brunt of supporting Europe’s asylum seekers, Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said on Monday.
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SPAIN: Â ALMOST 1 MILLION IMMIGRANTS IN ONE YEAR
(by Paola Del Vecchio) (ANSAmed) – MADRID, SEPTEMBER 8 – The waves of illegal immigrants arriving in Spain have not stopped, with new landings on the Canary Islands, and the number of the voyages of hope continues to grow, while a report of the National Statistics Institute (INE) reveals that almost a million immigrants arrived in Spain in 2007, of whom just a scarce 1% aboard barges or via sea. A total of over 260 migrants landed on the Canary Islands during the weekend…
UK:Â All-party call for 20,000-a-year cap on migrants arriving in UK
An unprecedented coalition of public figures will today call for a limit on migrant numbers settling in the UK. Â The group of MPs and peers, including a former Archbishop of Canterbury, want a policy of ‘balanced migration’. Â Only around 20,000 non-EU economic migrants would be allowed to stay permanently each year. The rest would have to go home after four years.
Immigrants queuing in Calais. An all-party group is calling for an annual limit of 20,000
The campaigners, led by former Labour Minister Frank Field, say their system would produce a UK population of around 65million by 2050 – compared to projections of 78.6million under Government policies.
It isn’t racist to want a cap on immigration
Our balanced migration policy is not ‘chuck ’em out’. It is essential for British society
All-party call for 20,000-a-year cap on migrants arriving in UK
Net immigration is currently estimated at more than 190,000 a year, though not all will stay permanently.
An opinion poll last night showed a large majority of voters in favour of the all-party group’s proposal – but Labour effectively ruled it out.
Â Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said the Government’s new points-based system would be better than ‘made up quotas’ for bringing in migrants with the skills needed by our economy.
The aim of balanced migration is to keep the number of foreigners settling here permanently at around the same as the number of Britons who leave.
The group calling for it, headed jointly by Mr Field and Tory MP Nicholas Soames, also includes Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Ahmed, one of Labour’s leading Muslim politicians.
Labour MP Frank Field is leading the cross-party parliamentary group on balanced migration
Mr Field said the recent wave of immigration had been unprecedented – 25 times higher than any for nearly 1,000 years. It had ‘undoubtedly brought gains’ to some sections of the community.
But the former welfare minister added: ‘One group that has disproportionately borne the cost of such immigration, through pressure on wages, longer waiting lists for decent housing and increased demand for public services, has been lower-paid black and white Britons.
‘This group has also often experienced a transformation of their neighbourhoods from settled working-class communities to societies they can barely recognise.’
The MPs and peers, who also include Lord Bill Jordan, former president of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, Field Marshal Lord Inge and economic historian Lord Skidelsky, asked the campaign group Migrationwatch to prepare ‘ constructive’ proposals for balancing migration.
Today, it publishes a 56-page report setting out a framework for controlling numbers without harming the economy.
The document suggests no limit or changes to the rights of genuine asylum seekers, who make up only three per cent of foreign migration. There would also be no major changes to marriage rules which confer settlement rights, or any attempt to limit free movement within the EU.
Instead, the proposals focus on economic migrants. They would still be allowed to obtain work permits, using the points-based system to ensure the economy is not left without vital skills.
But workers would be expected to return home after four years. Only a limited number of the best-paid or highest-skilled – around 20,000 each year – would be allowed settlement rights.
When this 20,000 is added to those granted settlement rights through marriage, asylum and other routes, the total number of foreigners allowed to remain permanently each year would be around 130,000. It would be balanced by the 125,000 British citizens who emigrate, giving a net increase of only 5,000.
The campaigners hope this would reduce some of the strains being experienced by communities across the UK.
They point out that, over the past decade, nearly 2.5million migrants have arrived while almost 750,000 British people have left – a 1.7million rise in the population. Schools, hospitals and housing have been placed under enormous pressure.
Migrationwatch also commissioned a YouGov opinion poll on behalf of the group.
It found that 81 per cent of Labour voters want a substantial reduction in immigration numbers – a position at odds with the Government. Some 89 per cent of Tories also want a sharp fall.
Immigrants walk along a disused railway on waste ground near the ferry port in Calais
The poll showed that 33 per cent of the electorate would be more likely to vote Tory if David Cameron adopted ‘balanced migration’, while only five per cent would be less likely.
Among black and ethnic minority respondents, 75 per cent wanted much lower immigration. They were split almost evenly between supporting ‘balanced migration’ and wanting even tougher controls.
Migrationwatch chairman Sir Andrew Green said: ‘This clearly shows that voters from across the board, including the ethnic minorities, strongly support a policy at least as firm as balanced migration. Concern about the present massive uncontrolled level of immigration is not a partisan issue.’
Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, supports the ‘20,000-cap’ policy
Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve said: ‘We have made our own proposals to set an annual limit on economic immigration, because we want to reduce the pressure on our public services caused by the uncontrolled immigration levels of recent years.
‘We will look with great interest at the proposals of the new group, so that we can continue to develop an immigration policy which is fair, helpful to the British economy and reasonable for the public services.’
But Jill Rutter, of the IPPR think-tank, said: ‘The proposal that migrant workers should leave the UK after a four-year period would mean employers could not retain the hard-working migrants they want to. We need to make migration work for Britain, rather than play to xenophobic sentiments.’
Immigration minister Liam Byrne said: ‘Our tough new points system, plus our plans for newcomers to earn citizenship, will reduce numbers of economic migrants coming to Britain, and the number awarded permanent settlement.
‘The points system means only those with the skills Britain needs can come. Unlike made-up quotas, this stops Government cutting business off from the skills it needs when it needs them.’
Addressing a two-day conference of European Union ministers, Maroni suggested Italy’s location as one of the bloc’s southernmost border nations put it under particular pressure. ”Italy and other border countries cannot be the ones bearing all the burden and all the costs of those who want to come and live in Europe, not necessarily even in Italy,” said the Italian minister. The EU’s current refugee rules, as enshrined in the Dublin Convention, require applicants to lodge their asylum claim in the first EU country they enter. The rule was designed to prevent people making multiple asylum applications or ”shopping around” for the state most likely to grant them refugee status.
However, this has placed considerable strain on countries at the edge of the 27-nation bloc, as they receive a far higher number of requests. Discussing Italy’s policies at the ”Building a Europe of Asylum” conference, Maroni said his country’s centre-right government had made every effort to implement a ”best practice for asylum seekers”. But he said as a frontline EU state, Italy needed more support from the bloc as a whole. He urged ministers to agree on common rules, which he said would ease the burden currently borne by border states. The focus of the two-day event, hosted by France in its capacity as duty president of the EU, is on pushing ahead with the bloc’s common rules on asylum. MINISTERS DISCUSSING PROPOSALS ON AMENDING DUBLIN RULES.
Ministers are discussing proposals from the European Commission to amend the Dublin rules. As well as the pressure the current system places on border states, there has been criticism of the different levels of protection offered by various member states.
Not only does this mean states with more favourable asylum policies receive more applications, it also means some countries may be turning away applicants unfairly. Speaking at the meeting, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres commented on the ”wide disparities” between different EU countries. ”Protection rates for asylum-seekers […] can range from zero to near 100%, depending on the country where the claim is examined,” he said. ”Such wide disparities are incompatible with a common system which seeks to guarantee equal protection across the European Union”. Guterres said this was of particular concern given that the Dublin system was based on the presumption that ”asylum systems of the Member States are comparable”.
He also reminded ministers that EU efforts to build a common asylum system offered a ”unique opportunity to strengthen refugee protection” but urged the bloc to work more closely with third countries. Currently, 80% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries, and Guterres called on the EU to allow more of these individuals into the bloc under resettlement programmes. Guterres also warned that Europe ”must be accessible for those seeking protection”. ”Yet there are more and more barriers to entry to Europe,” he said. ”This creates a situation in which many people in search of protection have no choice but to put themselves in the hands of people-smugglers and traffickers”.
Paris has said it hopes to reach agreement on the second phase in the EU’s progress towards a common asylum policy by the end of the year, with amended rules on asylum coming in to force by ”2010 or 2012 at the latest”.