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By Philippe Legrain 1 COMMENT

The British government’s lunacy knows no bounds. Irrespective of how open to immigration you think Britain should be, the notion that the Home Office, advised by a committee of wise men and women, is capable of identifying the specific occupations where job shortages exist is ludicrous.

According to the government’s new list, Britain will allow in:

  • sheap shearers (but only if they hold the British Wool Marketing Board bronze medal or equivalent);
  • frozen fish filleters (but only in Scotland);
  • theatre nurses (but not midwives);
  • veterinary surgeons (but not other veterinarians);
  • chefs (but only those paid at least £8.10 an hour);
  • ballet dancers (but not choreographers, or other dancers).

For the full list, click here.

It’s absurd. The government simply doesn’t have the information to second-guess the
employment needs of the UK economy now, let alone in future.

Think how hard it is being the human-resources manager for a big company. It’s nonsense to think that any committee, let alone the Home Office, can do that job for a complex modern economy made up of tens of thousands of businesses, each with its own ever-changing employment needs. The 1970s and the Soviet Union proved conclusively that manpower planning doesn’t work.

The government wouldn’t dream of applying such a policy between England and Scotland. Why on earth should it work between Britain and the rest of the world?

Posted 12 Nov 2008 in Blog
  1. NeoMalthus says:

    The essence of Philippe’s argument on immigration is as follows.
    “Unlimited immigration is always good”.
    In a podcast speech to Cato Institute he refuses to offer any ‘limiting principle’ to immigration.
    Philippe is obviously an extremist (albeit an interesting intellectual one – surpisingly right-wing/ free-market given his trendy left wing appearance).
    Why is it ‘Absurd’ to have standards on who you let into your country?
    We might argue over the standards but to have no standards is clearly a nonesense and no government will ever adopt such a policy.
    What would happen if a country were to allow unlimited immigration in the current economic environment?
    Mass unemployment, crime and increased multi-cultural tension.
    Which is not to say the opposite is true.
    “No immigration is always good”.
    There has to be a common sense middle way on these issues.
    I challenge you Phillipe to find that middle way – that ‘limiting priciple’ to immigration.

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