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Posted on Fri 4 May 2018

Letters to the Editor: Immigration Criteria

Dear Madam,

Recent events have revealed the extent to which the Home Office, and successive Home Secretaries, been driven by inappropriate business models in managing immigration and have been not only incompetent but callous in dealing with human dignity and liberty. Many know that I am in favour of a ‘fair but firm’ policy which takes account of those who already live here and their needs but which should also reflect a commitment to natural justice rather than to arbitrary targets derived from the world of business.

The fundamental problem with the Home Office’s policies is that they have framed immigration criteria on the basis of wealth and property rather than on grounds of justice and compassion.Thus visitors and students can only come here, even if they have sponsors here, if they have sufficient wealth and property at home. British citizens, similarly, may only marry foreign spouses if they have sufficient funds available to do so, thus depriving the poor of a basic right to family life which continues to be enjoyed by EU citizens living here. It is entirely right that visitors, students and spouses should not have recourse to public funds but this can be ensured by a proper system of sponsorship for visitors and students and the right to work for foreign spouses of British citizens.

What we have, at the moment, is immigration for the rich on the dubious grounds that they ‘integrate better’.This is shameful for a country which has a long tradition of welcoming people here for study, experience or work regardless of their economic or social standing. I do hope that the new Home Secretary will be able to look at the fundamental problems underlying our immigration laws and policies rather than just presenting an acceptable face of endemic injustice.

Yours faithfully,

+Michael Nazir-Ali

The letter was written to the Editor at The Guardian.