Migration controls: protectionism and reprisals
Over the weekend, the Home Secretary announced further restrictions on migrant labour. In reality they were not as tough as they were spun. Some of them were just entirely sensible measures such as requiring that jobs be advertised locally first (which already applies in most cases anyway), and using indications of skill shortages to trigger training initiatives. But the restrictions on highly skilled migrant visas and the tone of the announcement were part of a tightening of migration policy. Isn’t that the sort of protectionism that Ministers criticise unions for?
And it would be too simplistic to suggest that the following measures were reprisals, but at the same time, the Australians announced plans to cut the number of skilled migrant visas that allow UK workers to emigrate, and the Czech Republic announced plans to pay unemployed migrant workers to return to their countries of origin.
There couldn’t be a clearer indication that protectionism breeds more protectionism.