Not Saussure

April 22, 2007

Dr Reid on Immigration

Filed under: UK — notsaussure @ 11:06 am

The BBC reports that

Voters are worried about illegal immigrants who are “undermining” the jobs market and health and safety measures, John Reid has said.

It continues,

Mr Reid said: “Most people aren’t opposed to foreigners; they’re opposed to unfairness.”So what they worry about is people coming here illegally, people working here illegally, undermining the minimum wage, undermining the terms and conditions, safety and all of the good terms that protect workers and consumers.

“If that is being done people can see the benefits of immigration.

“If it isn’t being done, people worry about it and we have to address that worry by making sure that immigration is effectively controlled and fair to people in this country as well as those who come here.”

There seems to be a sentence missed out somewhere; I take the first ‘that’ to refer to employers paying at least the minimum wage , complying with health and safety regulations and so on.

Now, if this is the case and those are Dr Reid’s concerns, then logic seems — at least to me — to suggest that he should, in fact, be arguing for more lax immigration controls and more rigorous enforcement of the relevant legislation on the minimum wage and on health and safety, on the argument that people who’re clearly going to come here whether he wants them to or not are far more likely to insist on being properly paid and on their employers complying with relevant employment legislation if they’re in a position to complain about bad practice without risking arrest and deportation.

The problems Dr Reid identifies are, on his analysis, caused not by immigrants but by their immigration status. Regularise that and, on his analysis, you’ve gone a long way towards fixing the problem. Passing more laws to stop people doing something they’re going to do anyway and which only hurts anyone because it’s illegal in the first place is never much of a solution.

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  1. Yes but surely it’s a big jump from them doing it illegally and legalizing what they’re doing illegally, which negates the policy you’re trying to put in place?

    Comment by jameshigham — April 22, 2007 @ 5:12 pm

  2. No, the argument — which seems sensible enough to me — is that people don’t actually want to work for less than the minimum wage or in unsafe conditions, but are willing to put up with it because that’s the only work they can, as illegals, readily obtain. Regularise their position and there’s no reason for them to have to tolerate it.

    Comment by notsaussure — April 22, 2007 @ 5:31 pm

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