The immigration state is with us. At no other time in human history has there been such a huge flow of people moving to live in another country. The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the changes in society. However, surely it is only a matter of time before migration continues again at a high level.
Conservative Governments in the UK have tried to reduce immigration and have failed. Under Prime Ministers David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson immigration in the UK has remained high. Despite half the population voting for Brexit, it seems most people in practice feel that some immigration is needed so that there are people to do certain jobs. In the US under the “anti-immigrant” Trump administration immigration continued to rise.
Despite very high levels of Government fees under the Skilled Worker sponsor licence and visa system in the UK, there is still considerable demand for UK work visas. In the US as well despite the very restrictive H1B visa system, people are still willing to apply for US visas including the L1 visa and E2 visa.
Utopia was the famous 1516 book written by Sir Thomas More, who was King Henry the 8th’s Lord Chancellor and who was beheaded. Immigration was not something covered in the book. The idea of what constitutes Utopia, an ideal society, has since been discussed many, many times. Surely Utopian society must have some immigrants to function. There were some interesting comments about this made in 2019:
“…As I said earlier, your utopia for the future starts with the injustices of today. And I think you can easily make the argument that borders are the biggest source of inequality worldwide. 60 per cent of your income is dependent simply on where you were born — something that you didn’t choose…”
So you have an argument that immigration is moral as otherwise some people are stuck with limited opportunities in their country of birth. There are also benefits of immigration for countries such as the UK, the US and other wealthier countries, enabling skills shortages to be dealt with more easily. However, against this are the arguments that at least some of the time there is animosity amongst the host population towards greater immigration.
The arguments over appropriate levels of migration will continue. It seems that, whatever the rhetoric from politicians, many countries around the world will continue to allow significant levels of immigration. Most people’s “utopia” requires some level of immigration and work visa entry.
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