While there will never be a full cross-party consensus on how immigration should be managed, we believe that all parties across the political spectrum can and should get behind these five broad principles for reforming law and policy. These principles would show that politicians are committed to creating a system that works for the economy and for society as a whole.
The UK’s immigration policy and laws are facing a complete overhaul in the wake of the June referendum vote to leave the European Union. This moment provides an opportunity to review and reform the disparate and complicated assortment of laws, regulations, guidance and policies that make up UK immigration law.
Even evidence-based policy is made pursuant to political aims and objectives, such as increasing community cohesion, increasing GDP, reducing the national debt, or addressing voter concerns. It is neither possible nor is it desirable that every party or interest group in the UK agree on what those policy goals should be. In a democratic society, it is however essential that all parties agree on certain basic principles, including the importance of the rule of law; that due regard is had to evidence; and that there is some agreement as to core long-term aims to improve community cohesion and economic growth.
We have set out the following principles for policymakers to use in order to create a system that is fair, accessible, and that works for both migrant communities and the UK as a whole.
- New laws and policy must be led by evidence and pursue realistic and deliverable goals.
- Immigration policy and law in the UK must promote and respect the requirements of the rule of law.
- No community should be left behind: the economic benefits of migration should be shared amongst us all through reinvestment in communities, infrastructure, jobs, and education.
- Immigration policy should encourage long-term integration and the formation of stable, cohesive communities of migrants and non-migrants alike.
- Respect for human rights and equality must be integral to our immigration system.
We call on lawyers, politicians and policymakers from across the political spectrum to sign up to these five broad principles and to use them to both review current policy, as well as to inform any future changes to immigration law and policy.