The House will wish to know what arrangements will be in place here in the UK to support the accession of Romania and Bulgaria on 1 January. = My token sop to the tabloids.
Global movement is a fact of life. In the UK we have over 90 million visitors a year. This openness ensures we have a vibrant society and a strong economy.
Over the years Europe has prospered by letting people move and trade freely. = but I will give the illusion of closing the door
But as the EU expands this poses new challenges which have to be managed properly. Here, as elsewhere, managed migration is the right approach. ="managed migration", as if...
In 2004 when 10 new countries joined the EU, we gave their people access to our labour market. But the Workers Registration Scheme ensured people came to work and not claim benefits.
This has been a success. = we opened the door and it worked.
Workers from the new member states have filled skills gaps, including in key public services such as the NHS and social care, and have contributed to UK growth and prosperity. = we are totally dependent on foreign workers
Studies have found no evidence they have taken jobs away from British workers or undercut wages. = Thank God, But our political rating was hurt anyway
Employers and customers alike have welcomed their skills. Very few have brought dependants and the proportion attempting to claim out of work benefits has been less than 1%. =They are not settling- Hurray
In 2004 only Ireland and Sweden took the same position. Since then Italy, Spain, Finland, Portugal and others have followed our lead and lifted restrictions. Germany has admitted 500,000 eastern European workers. = we are not unique, no really
Over the last few months, I have set out ambitious (=unworkable) plans to ensure that our immigration system is both effective and fair, including plans to ensure immigration rules are advised by an independent Migration Advisory Committee; plans to double spending on enforcement; and plans to introduce ID cards for foreign nationals. = we have created a meaningless Quango and a whole load of new public sector jobs with large unfunded pension requirements
There have also been some transitional impacts from the last round of accession.
A small number of schools have seen a significant increase in admissions. Some local authorities have reported problems of overcrowding in private housing. There have been cost pressures on English language training. = er… we blew our educational budget.
Because we believe in the principle of managed migration we believe that before we take further steps, our plans for immigration reform should be further advanced, that we should understand any pressures in detail, and we should ensure that appropriate measures are in place to ameliorate them. = meaningless
Our plans to manage accession have been developed on this basis, and today I can set out for the House three key steps. = always three, you notice
First, the Department of Communities and Local Government(DCLG) will work in partnership with local areas to spread best practice in meeting isolated and specific pressures that have arisen as a result of recent migration. =meaningless consultation with people who do not know what "best practice" is anyway
Second, the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) will provide £400,000 to fund a new excellence programme, which will support schools that have limited experience of teaching new migrant pupils with English as an additional language. = meaningless expenditure
Third, the UK will maintain controls on Romania and Bulgaria's access to jobs for a transitional period. = meaningless and undefined
The opening of our labour market will take account of the needs of our labour market, the impact of the A10 expansion and the positions adopted by other member states. = we are trying not to make it look like the door is wide open
Furthermore, we will expect employers to look exclusively to workers from EU nations to meet any low-skilled labour shortages within the UK. = so brilliant guys from the States are not welcome
We can therefore announce today that from 1 January 2007 we will be phasing out all low-skilled migration schemes for workers from outside the EU. = tough luck on the Commonwealth too
Places on the two low-skilled migration schemes for non-EU workers (the Seasonal Agricultural Workers scheme and the Sectors Based scheme which between them currently have 19,750 places) will now be restricted to nationals from Romania and Bulgaria with this cap maintained at its present level. = meaningless restrictions will be imposed, that will mostly be ignored
In the first instance, food processing and agriculture will be the only sectors open to less-skilled A2 nationals. But we will listen to industry representatives where it is felt similar schemes are needed in other sectors. = we don’t know what to do.
Employers will need to convince the government there is a genuine labour shortage and such schemes would be limited by quota. = but we know better than businesses about what is good for them
Once we have brought forward proposals for a Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) we will suggest that in due course the MAC will advise on how the quotas on low-skilled migration are managed. = a whole new Quango for patronage- whoopee!!!!!!
Highly-skilled A2 workers that qualify for the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (currently just under 100 a year) will also be admitted, as they are now, along with any dependents. = well, most of the last government of Bulgaria were London based investment bankers
Romanian and Bulgarian students studying in the UK will also continue to be able to work part-time, providing they are enrolled at an approved college on the DfES Register of Education Providers. = extra bureaucracy and forms- whay-hay!!
In addition, Romanian and Bulgarian workers with specialist skills that are needed in the UK will be able to come here to do jobs that cannot be filled by resident labour, provided they meet our tests on qualifications and earnings. = Please come and be a barista- especially if you are pretty
This is already the case. 1,740 Romanians and Bulgarians entered the UK last year on this basis. Again, work permit holders will be able to bring dependents as they can today. = Spurious numbers to give the iullusion that we know what is happening
These arrangements will be reviewed annually. = we will do nothing
The terms of the Accession Treaty do not allow us to place restrictions on EU nationals' rights to come here to set up a business.
So the self-employed will continue to be able to work here (and in all other EU countries), if they can prove when challenged that they are genuine, and not in fact employees posing as contractors. = we have created a loophole that you can drive a bus through and blamed it on the EU
We look forward to welcoming Romanian and Bulgarian workers here, provided that they comply with our rules and obey the law. = Unwelcoming immigration officers born in Bangladesh making sure that the EU line is longer than the none-EU line
Visa regimes for the new accession countries will be maintained up until accession. Bulgarians and Romanians will therefore continue to need to have visas for entry to the UK up until midnight on 31 December 2006. = meaningless
But after that people from Romania and Bulgaria will be able to travel about the EU freely.
However, if they want to take employed work they will need a work authorisation document. =ID card
As set out above to get such a document they will need to have passed the tests to get onto the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, have secured a work permit for a skilled job, proved they are a student at a reputable college, or got a place in the quota for agriculture or food processing. = Sod off Jonny Balkan
The House will expect to know how this system will be policed. I must be clear to the House that policing the system against a background of free movement to the UK will present some challenges. = ha ha ha ha ha ha it’s the way I tell them
But workers or employers who are tempted by this into breaking the rules should be aware that they will be robustly enforced.
Subject to debate in this House, we will take powers to make it an offence for an A2 national to work without such a document. We plan to make this punishable by an on-the-spot fixed penalty. = which an itinerant peasant from Cluj will be able to pay, of course
It will also be an offence for an employer to take on undocumented A2 nationals. = no, we really do know better than businesses about who they should hire
This will be punishable by a heavy fine. Employing illegal workers undercuts legitimate business and leads to exploitation. It will not be tolerated. = if we can find them.
Employers will rightly ask for assistance in fulfilling their responsibilities. There will be, therefore, an information campaign for employers, backed up by a toolkit and helpline, to ensure that firms are aware of the rules and their responsibilities. = Loads of new state sector jobs with unfunded pensions will be created to staff the help line too, Yippee!! My Permanent Secretary will be so pleased
Employers and employees must be clear that they have a duty to play by these rules or suffer the consequences. = extra costs on employers to pay for more bureaucracy to interfere with their staff arrangements
Through this measured response to accession we will ensure that migration is and continues to be managed in the best interests of the country as a whole.= Great, more budget for my department, and a whole new Quango- Yippeee!!!!
Pure Sir Humphrey Appleby, really....