Saturday, 16 July 2022

Beyond Sanctuary: Moving the debate from the event of immigration to the process of integration

There is a need to entirely re-think how Britain regards immigration in general and asylum in particular. 

The short-term political advantage of being ever 'tougher' on immigration has simply led to policy becoming ever dumber on the matter. Even if it were desirable, and it is not, to stop asylum seekers from reaching the UK, it simply cannot be done. For all of its challenges, Britain is a stable, safe and economically sound nation which respects civil liberties. People want to live here, they want to rebuild their lives here. Bluntly, if one thinks about the countries which do not have inward migration there is generally a very good reason as to why that would be.

If a debate is simply between those who want to pull up a non-existent drawbridge and those who campaign for "no borders" then we risk missing crucial aspects which would be a feature of a well-managed asylum process.

Are we reaching the people most in need?
Are we considering the agency of the individuals seeking to move here?
Do we have an integration process that can provide a platform for refugees to succeed for themselves, their communities and the UK exchequer?

As the paper notes, British policy-makers have touched on improvements to the system, notably during the Syrian conflict, but not then developed or expanded the model.

Britain has long been a beacon for what is good in the democratic world. Now, with an aging society and increasing global shifts in the world economy buffeting our shores, let us look again at how we can harness immigration in a fair way for those seeking to move here and a sustainable manner for the communities of the UK.

As a rich-world democratic nation we do have a responsibility to offer refuge, but to only do that, or to do so grudgingly misses so much potential. Our integration process should be a pathway for refugees to succeed and become an asset to our shared nation. We should offer sanctuary but we should also move beyond sanctuary.

Beyond Sanctuary: Moving the debate from the event of immigration to the process of integration

There is a need to entirely re-think how Britain regards immigration in general and asylum in particular.  The short-term political advantag...