‘Cabinet immigration policy masks Tory failures’

Written by Evie Matthews |



Cabinet immigration policy is being used to mask Tory failures- Here’s how: 


At the end of September 2018, Cabinet came to a consensus that European Union migrants should face the same immigration rules as those from outside the Union. Currently, the EU’s principle of free movement allows people from EU economic area- all EU countries and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein- to work and visit the area without visas, regardless of skills.

If the policy is enforced, EU nationals would be given the right to immigrate to the UK based on a skill set, ranging from tier 1 (exceptional talent) to tier 5 (voluntary and education projects). This criterion has been made tougher in recent years, with wages from previous jobs being a major factor for who is granted or denied entry.

For many, this decision is unsurprising – some believe the UK requires tougher immigration policy for EU nationals. Maybe a limitation on EU nationals granted entry is long-overdue – after all, 3.8 million EU nationals currently live in the UK, 6% of the total population.

The government’s new plan is a salute to the sovereignty of our border as much as it is pandering to every flag-bearing nationalist. But, sadly, this decision shows that- with this- we are entering into an era where we focus exclusively on ourselves and forget anyone beyond this Channel.


“This decision shows that- with this- we are entering into an era where we focus exclusively on ourselves and forget anyone beyond this Channel.”


The Tories have found a convenient scapegoat in EU nationals and the wider foreign population for their own inadequacies and failures. Dr. Meleady, a professor at the University of East Anglia, exposed the irony of anti-immigration sentiments.

Her main discovery was that areas with the highest immigration populations tended to vote remain due to positive interactions with EU community members. This shows it clearly isn’t real life experiences motivating this anti-immigrant rhetoric.


“…It clearly isn’t real life experiences motivating this anti-immigrant rhetoric.”


History can only prove that this constructed ‘other’ can successfully shift attention. Divide and conquer has been used as a distraction technique of leaders for time immemorial. The mental health and wider NHS crisis can be blamed on the Ukrainian exploiting free healthcare – but not blamed the fact the UK spends less on its healthcare than another EU country, with A&E demand increasing 13% in 40 years.

Homelessness is never ever affiliated with the gig economy (which boosts employment figures) that puts employees in unreliable and unstable work – it is always the fault of the European worker, taking the homes that “we” should have.

Secondly, the negative impact of limiting EU migration for the UK itself can be seen with the collapse of the NHS. Independent research has estimated that the cost of visitor and non-permanent residents from the European Economic Area at £340m annually. However, its time to acknowledge and, better yet, appreciate that EU national workers are part of the pump that keeps the NHS going. Over 20% of NHS staff were EU nationals in 2016, thus is it a surprise to stories of understaffing as of last year? I certainly did not think so.

The difficult truths that are unravelling are facts we may be too scared or too indignant to accept. Britain is no longer the imperial country it once was – able to dictate and rule independently. It must cooperate with EU states in this world where our small island is shrinking. Britain has had a history of depending on foreign workers, as revealed in the likes of the World Wars to the Windrush Generation.

“Britain is no longer the imperial country it once was…”


I cannot attack those who voted or are in support of Brexit – I am aware that the EU isn’t faultless. However, the Brexit vote has legitimised an anti-immigrant rhetoric which can be seen with the spike in religious and racial hate crimes the year of the vote. Thus, even if the Tories are passing limitation on EU migrants in Britain’s interest (which I’m altogether unconvinced), are we all suffering a national amnesia that is making us forget what current levels of EU migration is offering not just them but us? 

We now live in an interdependent world, and that is not opinion but fact. Its increasingly clear to me that it will take another Tory government and a worsened relationship with the EU to make us see that, on our own, Britain isn’t as great as what we wanted to think.