UK Immigration

The Brexit vote has sent ripples throughout the global political landscape. From local politicians to the American president-elect, each has or will be affected by the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union. However, excluding world leaders, the most affected individuals will be those eagerly waiting at the Channel Tunnel for the chance of salvation, refugees. The United Kingdom has remained silent on the issue, mainly due to the matter of readying for the trigger of Article 50 to begin the formal exit from the EU. Today in the British Cabinet, all the members came to a resolution to address the post-Brexit immigration policies that will be set in place.

A delegate of the committee spoke today saying that the United Kingdom has been working to purge any and all uncertainty about their position in the world. He said “We have taken steps to ensure our own economic stability and how we will deal with immigration in the future”. He further elaborated by saying that “working migrants and tourist will have to apply for visas just the same as any other non-EU citizen”. He did follow up by saying that “working migrants will be streamlined compared to other applications for visas” and that “EU and non-EU working migrant will be considered equally”. He said they would be implementing a point base system in which people with desirable attributes such as specialised and educated will be placed higher than those who are not. I pressured him by asking if these were people we were dealing with and not calculable values. He declined to comment further.

With the number of refugees in Europe increasing exponentially weekly, practical action must be taken soon or this tension will grow to a boiling point. They will act in desperation and more lives will be lost, not to unforgiving ocean or the unending trek, but at the hands of those whom they sought salvation from.

Moving Forward on the Refugee Crisis

As a result of the recent crisis update, where huge floods in the Alps have ruined homes and taken lives, this refugee crisis has taken a large turn. The European Parliament recognises the importance of this, however the resolutions some representatives have proposed are difficult to pass. This is due to high level of confliction between pro-entry vs anti-entry countries, however the Austrian representative is pro-entry. The Austrian representative in the EP, Hannes Swoboda, proposes an education programme, “It’s pretty difficult with the rise of right-wing groups. There’s a feeling that immigrants are taking over our jobs - but people who say that often tend not to be educated on the subject properly. That’s why we are starting another educational program to teach such people about the process of immigration, about different cultures and different religions, in order to make them less xenophobic and racist which is really important.” Not only this, but the education programme also promotes the integration of immigrants into society, Swoboda continues, “By integrating these immigrants, we help boost our GDP. Immigrants have in the past actually created companies and created jobs, especially in poor neighborhoods - more jobs equals more demand, which raises the GDP of a country, which means that having these immigrants is actually beneficial for every country.”    

In efforts to relieve their country of the burden of refugees, Greece has proposed that other neighboring countries take in more refugees. This is because Greece is in the midst of an economic and humanitarian crisis, therefore they are unable to substantially facilitate the refugees. Greece has approached Poland, Spain, Hungary, Portugal, Germany, France, Belgium asking if they will take in refugees. They have also approached the UN to ask for travel funds in order to transport the refugees by air or sea. The cooperation of countries is imperative to the success of combating the refugee crisis occurring presently.

Discussion about the first course of action within the Immigration and Refugee Council has positively affected movement regarding helping those in need. France has opened it’s borders to refugees, plus Belgium has begun to send in rescue teams. As well as this, Germany introduced the importance of sending humanitarian aid, including care packages and helicopter drops. In cooperation with France, Italy, Portugal and Poland, Germany also proposed the help of surveillance drones to investigate the damage to property and citizens. The introduction of a surveillance clause, meaning locating refugees and pinpointing the migration movement of citizens remains crucial. Germany announced their open door policy, contributing to the rehabilitation efforts and recommending temporary camps and humanitarian aid until sufferers are back on their feet. It is important that people are moved out of the flooding zones and the

Minister’s advancement in removal of citizen from flooding zones into close by camps is vital.

Immediate action is a necessity in this situation, aid is not being sent prematurely because the longer the council waits to enforce action, the more homes will be damaged and the more lives will be lost resultant of lacking basics. The EU is aware that they have the resources in order to send immediate help and action over to the Alps, as well as transportation for those stuck. Direct relief is a number one priority therefore a structured, more detailed plan should be constructed after initial help. All Ministers are aware that the longer the help is delayed, the worse the situation will become, therefore Portugal has begun accepting refugees.

Leaked Resolution Leads to Unrest in Catalonia

In Catalonia, support for independence is growing along with disdain for the Spanish government. This tension has been building over the past five years as the development of their sovereign state showed progress but slowed to a crawl. Many Catalans believe the federal government is trying to halt their evolution from a Spanish state to an independent country with polls suggesting than an overwhelming majority of Catalans don’t trust the Spanish authorities.

With the tension ready to burst, the Catalans only needed minimal evidence that the government was toying with them. This came about in the form of a leaked draft resolution by the Spanish government which heavily taxed the Catalans and established a new educational system. Many believe this system will result in children's indoctrination by the Spanish government. The revelation of this draft resolution resulted in a major increase in support for independence. This increase, as well as the outrage caused by the terms of the resolution, caused rioting throughout the streets of Catalonia.

With the people of Catalonia demanding action from the Spanish government and their cries falling on deaf ears, it was only a matter of time until a spark caused a fire. Now, hopefully Spain’s federal government can defuse the tension and listen to the people before the once peaceful movement turns violent.