Immigrating graduates

Some interesting comments from some US CEOs on immigration here.

Immigration is finally becoming a topic that can be discussed in the UK again. The topic always seems to frighten people away, as it always carries the danger of being accused of being racist when discussing it.

There’s nothing racist about having an immigration policy. You can have a policy that is racist, or right, or wrong, or flawed – simply having a policy is not racist.

My layman’s, Brit-abroad-in-the-Gulf view is roughly this.

We should be encouraging foreign students to study in the UK, particularly from the Gulf. We don’t want these guys going to the US – it’s in our best interest that they study in the UK.

Regardless of where you’re from, simply having studied in the UK doesn’t mean you should automatically be able to stay and work there, but if we have good graduates that can contribute to our economy, people should be able to stay.

Simply having right of residence in the UK should not mean that children born here are automatically entitled to British citizenship. I perceive – and I may be completely wrong – that once you are here in some capacity, able to reside in the UK, your children born here are able to become British citizens. This leads to people effectively being able to stay for the rest of their lives, as they now have dependents, whether it is in society’s interest for them to do so or not.

If we have positions that need to be filled by experts from abroad, we need experts from abroad. The current intention to restrict visas needs to be looked at again. The process needs to be managed by some kind of sponsorship system. I don’t think the UAE system of handling expats working and living here is perfect, but this is the kind of model we need. The idea is to welcome expats who can contribute, but keep control on where the country is going in the longer term. Simply inviting someone over to work for a period of time, which is to their advantage and to ours, should not mean that they and their dependents are automatically able to become British citizens or stay here for the rest of their lives.

Britain has a long history of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers. This should continue, but be implemented properly. The current apparent system of not granting people the right to stay, but then, sort of, well, letting them, needs to stop. Do this properly.

We have to sort out the way we are educating our own population. I have my own views on how education policy should be handled, possibly a topic for another post. Whatever people’s views on how we should be educating people, it’s fairly clear that we’re not doing a very good job of it. Once you get out of the UK, it’s astonishing to see the value people from developing countries put on education, how it’s seen to be so important and how it genuinely helps people improve their prospects. That culture doesn’t exist in Britain for the majority of people. Kids are leaving school unable to read, write and count properly – they are unemployable.

I feel a lot of Brits have their heads in the sand when it comes to their futures – they’re not guaranteed any more, if they ever were. All around the world, universities are producing well educated graduates who also speak excellent English. Simply being a native speaker and having a reasonable degree isn’t going to be enough, particularly if you have ambitions to travel or work in a role that covers a number of countries.

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