A common justification for mass immigration is the need for labour to plug demographic and skills gaps. Merkel is doing this over the present invading hordes. The claim is moonshine because societies have always adapted to a shortage of labour. Moreover, most immigrants do not come to do skilled work. The liberal internationalists tell us that the woes of the world would come upon us should we end mass immigration into Britain, although, like Lear threatening retribution, (“I will do such things – What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be the terrors of the earth”) they are unable to say exactly what the woes will be. In fact, I cannot recall ever having seen an article in the British media which goes beyond lazy generalisation about “competing in a global market” or “driving private enterprise abroad”. Let me see if I can make a better fist of analysing what would happen if mass immigration ended.
To stop mass immigration would require Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, the repudiation of other treaties such as the UN Convention on Refugees (UNCR) and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the repeal of the Human Rights Act (HRA) and the ending of the rules which make it easy for new immigrants to settle in Britain for the purpose of joining relatives already here, for marriage and on compassionate grounds. Consequently, the consideration of the effects of mass immigration has to take in both the practical effects of its cessation on the British labour market and its international repercussions.
The effects on the British labour market
There would be greatly improved employment opportunities for the British. The labour market would tighten and wages would rise. That would place extra costs on employers but they could be offset by a reduction in taxation due to millions of people being employed who are currently unemployed. Nor would wages rise uniformly. Labour would move into those occupations which are essential and which cannot be provided at a distance, for example healthcare and education. We would discover how occupations rank in terms of utility. Wages would rise in those occupations which had most utility to attract staff from elsewhere. This could have surprising results. We might find that vital jobs considered menial now would pay much more once cheap labour could no longer be brought in. This would be justice for the many who have seen their jobs undervalued because of the ability of employers to use cheap immigrant labour.
Employers would respond to labour tightening by using labour more efficiently. Automation would increase and employers would change their attitude to the employment of the long-term unemployed, older people and the disabled. Both employers and government would take vocational training more seriously. Government would provide incentives to employers to train their staff and increase the training of public service professionals such as doctors and dentists. Government would also be forced to tackle the mess which is our public education to ensure an adequately educated workforce.
Employers who could not find the labour to run their business in this country would have to accept they could not do so. No one has a right to engage in an enterprise regardless of the effects on the welfare of the community as a whole which is effectively the present position. Capital which cannot be used in this country can be invested abroad. The balance of payments would be improved by a reduction in money being remitted abroad by immigrants.
The increase in employment of Britons would be an immense social good beyond reducing the cost to the Exchequer of the unemployed, for people are generally happier and responsible when employed.
The pressure on public services, transport and housing would be lessened making access to them easier for Britons. In particular, reduced demand for housing would reduce the cost of purchasing, leasing or renting property for private individuals, public bodies, charities and private companies. An ending of mass immigration would also curtail the substantial cost of providing the benefits of the welfare state to immigrants as soon as they gain the right to legal long term residence in Britain.
Fewer legal immigrants would allow much greater supervision of visitors to Britain – a significant minority of whom are health tourists or who are here for criminal purposes – and a proper control and investigation of illegal immigrants. No more sending suspected illegals to the Croydon reception office under their own speed or leaving ports and airfields with an inadequate or completely absent Borders Agency presence. The repeal of the HRA, our departure from the EU and the repudiation of the ECHR and the UNCHR would allow Britain to deport people at will. We could then not only refuse new immigrants but start removing the illegal immigrants who are already here.