From the Guardian
Thursday 2 February 2012
Immigrants ‘should benefit Britain, not just benefit from Britain’, says minister
In a speech to the Policy Exchange in London, immigration minister Damian Green says immigrants to the UK should be able to speak English and have enough money to support themselves. He pledges to create an immigration system where only the ‘brightest and the best’ are allowed to enter the country•
From the BBC news
2 February 201
Immigrants ‘must add to quality of life in Britain’
People coming to live in the UK from outside the EU must “add to the quality of life in Britain”, immigration minister Damian Green has said.He argued Britain does not need more “middle managers” or unskilled labour and those who settle could have to command a salary of more than £31,000.
The government has pledged to cut net migration from the current 242,000 to the “tens of thousands”Any British citizen who wants to bring in a non-EU spouse should also meet a minimum salary level, he added.
Labour said ministers had set out “no workable proposals” to cut immigration.Minister rebuked over immigration statistics.
The government has pledged to cut net migration from 242,000 – the figure for the year ending September 2010 – to the “tens of thousands” last seen in the 1990s.
Non-EU migration ‘hurts jobless’
Immigration goal ‘will be missed’
As part of that the number of people from outside the EU coming to the UK to work will be capped.
In his speech to the Policy Exchange in London, Mr Green referred to a report by the government’s Migration Advisory Committee (Mac) which found there were up to 23 fewer jobs for British workers for every additional 100 working migrants coming from outside the EU.
He said it disproved the “old assumption” that “as immigration adds to GDP it is economically a good thing, and that therefore logically the more immigration the better, whatever the social consequences”.
“That was the view of the previous government in its early years, and it is still the view of Tony Blair and some of his former advisers,” he said.
Home affairs correspondent, BBC News
“It is not my view, or the view of the vast majority of the British people.
Conservative ministers have focused on cutting the numbers of immigrants – but this speech is about a vision of what the remainder all adds up to.
“The key insight of the Mac’s work is that the measure of a successful immigration policy is how it increases the wealth of the resident population.”
At its heart is an idea that has long driven policy in countries like Australia and the US: You only get in if you’re good enough – and only if Britain wants you.
Mr Green said he wanted to build a “national consensus” around immigration, adding: “Importing economic dependency on the state is unacceptable.
It’s a markets-led approach to economic migration. The UK should select only what it needs from a global stall of workers.
Labour tried to sell this idea – but struggled to get the message across because, as it admitted, the system wasn’t fit for purpose.
“Bringing people to this country who can play no role in the life of this country is equally unacceptable.”
The criticism Damian Green will face is that he’s focusing on immigration rights for the wealthy despite the lower-paid also paying their way and keeping Britain moving
He said he wanted anyone moving to the UK to join a British spouse “to be able to integrate and be independent”, which was why a requirement to speak English was being introduced.
Ministers know that public trust in immigration is the prize. A lot of that trust will depend on the reforms to the system itself.
But he said he was also proposing to set a minimum income level for any sponsor seeking to bring in a foreign spouse – and said the recommended level from Mac was between £18,600 and £25,700.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said that would be “hammer blow to the human rights of cross border partners and their families”.
Chief executive Habib Rahman said: “They’ve already been hit with an age minimum (although we defeated that), language requirements and ever increasing visa fees. Now they face what is likely to be an unreasonably high income threshold.
“One might argue that this government has it in for poor people who fall in love with anyone who’s not resident in the UK.”
Ahead of his speech, Mr Green told BBC Radio Kent he wanted “to be much more intelligently selective about who we let come here”, and that anyone individual seeking permanent settlement should be able to command a salary of between £31,000 and £49,000.
“We need to know that you’re not going to be living off benefits from day one of arriving here.
“We want people either to fill skill gaps we may have… [or] we want to know that they are being offered jobs that are genuinely at a skill level.
“Similarly with students, we want to make sure that they are genuine student studying genuine courses at a genuine institution.”
The government is still weakening action on illegal immigration, abandoning checks at our border during the summer”
New specialist routes will be developed further to improve the visa system for short-term business visitors and entertainers, as well as a “young talent” scheme to encourage the entrepreneurs and scientists of the future to immigrate.
But on the subject of professions suffering from shortages, such as nursing, Mr Green said there was “no reason why Britain should have a permanent shortage of nurses” and any use of foreign workers should be temporary.
Shadow immigration minister
He said importing unskilled labour had “caused enough problems when there was an economic boom on” and would be completely “wrong-headed” in tougher times.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the campaign group Migration Watch UK, said it had to be the “right approach” to try to get immigration down by being “much more selective”.
“We need to consider the common good, not just the demands of special interest groups who benefit financially from immigration,” he said.
Shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant said Labour agreed with the need for national consensus but there was “still a massive gap between the government’s rhetoric and the reality on immigration”.
“David Cameron pledged ‘no ifs, no buts’, net migration would be in the tens of thousands by the end of the Parliament. Yet the minister today has again set out no workable proposals to deliver it,” he said.
“And the government is still weakening action on illegal immigration, abandoning checks at our border during the summer, stopping the routine fingerprinting of illegal immigrants trying to enter the UK through the Channel Tunnel, and seeing the number of people removed for breaking the rules going down not up.”
The government has promised to crack down on sham and forced marriages, and last year consulted on plans to create a more formal test to define whether a relationship is genuine.
This could involve UK Border Agency case workers questioning a couple to see whether they are able to provide accurate personal details about each other and whether they agree on the facts of their relationship, for example how they met.
Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.
By STEPHAN FARIS / ROME Monday, Oct. 18, 2010
Time Magazine World http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2024136,00.html
It’s not the type of advice you would usually expect from the head of an elite university. In an open letter to his son published last November, Pier Luigi Celli, director general of Rome’s LUISS University, wrote, “This country, your country, is no longer a place where it’s possible to stay with pride … That’s why, with my heart suffering more than ever, my advice is that you, having finished your studies, take the road abroad. Choose to go where they still value loyalty, respect and the recognition of merit and results.”
The letter, published in Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper, sparked a session of national hand-wringing. Celli, many agreed, had articulated a growing sense in his son’s generation that the best hopes for success lie abroad. Commentators point to an accelerating flight of young Italians and worry that the country is losing its most valuable resource. And with reforms made all but impossible by Italy’s deep-rooted interests and topsy-turvy politics — a schism in the ruling coalition seemed this summer to threaten Silvio Berlusconi’s government once again — many are starting to wonder if the trend can be reversed. “We have a flow outward and almost no flow inward,” says Sergio Nava, host of the radio show Young Talent and author of the book and blog The Flight of Talent, which covers the exodus.
The motives of those leaving haven’t changed much since the last wave of economic migrants struck out to make their fortunes a century ago. But this time, instead of peasant farmers and manual laborers packing themselves onto steamships bound for New York City, Italy is losing its best and brightest to a decade of economic stagnation, a frozen labor market and an entrenched system of patronage and nepotism. For many of the country’s most talented and educated, the land of opportunity is anywhere but home.
Take Luca Vigliero, a 31-year-old architect. After graduating from the University of Genoa in 2006 and failing to find satisfying work at home, he moved abroad, working first for a year at Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam and then accepting a job in Dubai in 2007. In Italy, his résumé had drawn no interest. At Dubai’s X Architects, he was quickly promoted. He now supervises a team of seven people. “I’m working on projects for museums, villas, cultural centers, master plans,” he says. “I have a career.” Escape from Italy has also allowed Vigliero to fast-track his life plans. He and his wife had a son in September; had they remained in Italy, he says they would not have been able to afford children this soon. “All my friends in Italy are not married, they have really basic work, they live with their [parents],” he says. “Here, there’s a future. Every year, something happens: new plans, new projects. In Italy, there’s no wind. Everything is stopped.”
Italy doesn’t keep track of how many of its young professionals are seeking their fortunes abroad, but there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that the number is rising. The number of Italians ages 25 to 39 with college degrees registering with the national government as living abroad every year has risen steadily, from 2,540 in 1999 to about 4,000 in 2008. The research-institute Censis estimates that 11,700 college graduates found work abroad in 2006 — that’s one out of every 25 Italians who graduated that year. According to a poll by Bachelor, a Milanese recruitment agency, 33.6% of new graduates feel they need to leave the country to take advantage of their education. A year later, 61.5% feel that they should have done so.
It’s not hard to see why. Italy’s economic woes have fallen hard on the shoulders of the country’s youth. According to figures published in May by the National Institute of Statistics, 30% of Italians ages 30 to 34 still live with their parents, three times as many as in 1983. One in 5 young people ages 15 to 29 has basically dropped out: not studying, not training, not working. “We’re condemning an entire generation into a black hole,” says Celli.
Jobs for the (Old) Boys
Italians without college education often get by working in the black economy, doing all sorts of jobs, but university graduates — or more generally, those with higher aspirations — have a tougher time finding work that fits their qualifications. The unemployment rate among Italian college graduates ages 25 to 29 is 14%, more than double the rate in the rest of Europe and much higher than that of their less-educated peers.
Italians have a word for the problem: gerontocracy, or rule by the elderly. Too much of the economy is geared toward looking after older Italians. While the country spends relatively little on housing, unemployment and child care — expenditures the young depend upon to launch their careers — it has maintained some of the highest pensions in Europe, in part by ramping up borrowing. This imbalance extends into the private sector, where national guilds and an entrenched culture of seniority have put the better jobs out of reach for the country’s young.
Italy has always suffered under a hierarchical system, with the young deferring to authority until it’s their time to take the reins. “You are not considered experienced based on your CV, on your ability or according to your skills, but just based on your age,” says Federico Soldani, 37, an epidemiologist who left Pisa in 2000 and now works in Washington, D.C., for the Food and Drug Administration. “When you are under 40, you are considered young.”
The system worked — to a certain extent — as long as the economy was growing. Patience paid off as jobs opened to whoever was next in line. But with the extended slump, the labor market has seized up. “The queue is not moving forward anymore,” says Soldani. Entry to some professions — like the lucrative position of public notary — is so limited that the job has become all but hereditary. In a country where success is built on relationships and seniority, only the friends and children of the elite have a chance to cut the line.
ALESSANDRO WANDAEL is a photographer. His is a profession in which success should depend on talent alone. But not so in his native Italy. The photo credits in magazines show that photographers who have family or other close ties to editors are working regularly, he says. “Those who don’t, aren’t.”
The 37-year-old Mr Wandael, a former architect, has lived abroad ever since graduating: first in Berlin; now in New York. Figures in this field are often outdated and vague. But Mr Wandael is far from alone. According to 2005 statistics published by the OECD, he is among some 300,000 highly educated Italians who have opted to leave a country that has become rich without dismantling a social framework in which access to jobs depends on family ties, political affiliations andraccomandazioni (string-pulling recommendations). Last month saw unexpectedly violent student protests in a number of cities against proposed reforms to the university system. Some commentators detected in this a symptom of the frustration the Italian way of doing things generates among the educated young.
How serious is the problem? It “does not exist”, said a junior minister in 2002, claiming that only 150-300 graduates a year left the country for good. A minister in the current government privately acknowledges the phenomenon, but says that the only real cause for concern is the departure of scientific researchers. But neither of these contentions stands up. A 2004 study found that, of all Italian emigrants, the share of those with degrees quadrupled between 1990 and 1998. In 1999, according to a separate study, 4,000 graduates cancelled their Italian residency. And just 17% of Italian graduates in the United States, the most popular destination, are involved in research and development, according to the (American) National Science Foundation. The biggest chunk work as managers.
Yet what distinguishes Italy from its peers is not the absolute number of its exiled graduates (in 2005 more left Britain, France and Germany than Italy), but that it has a net “brain drain” (see chart), something more typical of a developing economy. In other words, the number of educated Italians leaving the country exceeds the number of educated foreigners entering it. By contrast, many of Italy’s developed-world counterparts are involved in “brain exchanges”: as British computer scientists disappear to Silicon Valley, Spanish medical researchers find work in Britain, for example.
Last year Silvio Berlusconi’s government made the second attempt in nine years to lure back exiled academics, this time with tax breaks. But this misses the point, according to Sonia Morano-Foadi, a law lecturer at Oxford Brookes University who interviewed more than 50 émigré Italian scientists in 2006. Her subjects identified two main reasons for their decision to quit the homeland. One was Italy’s scant investment in R&D (the lowest of the European Union’s 15 pre-2004 members). The other, “the most important and difficult problem of academia in Italy”, was its “non-transparent recruitment system”.