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Business & Finance Series: General Election

Dr Marius Luedicke comments on UKIP's proposed immigration policy ahead of the General Election

Cass Business School expert responds to policy announcement

by City Press Office (General enquiries)

Speaking at the launch of UKIP's campaign poster on immigration on 31st March, Nigel Farage said an "honest debate" on the subject was needed to restore public trust in politics.

Mr Farage declared immigration has left towns and cities in Britain almost unrecognisable for many people over the last decade, as he unveiled the UK Independence party’s (UKIP) first general election poster.

Although UKIP are yet to publish their manifesto immigration policy is central to UKIP’s General Election campaign. The UKIP leader is expected to challenge David Cameron and Ed Milliband on the issue of immigration during the Leaders’ debate on 2 April.

Proposed UKIP policies include:

  • Tighter restrictions on bringing foreign spouses and children to the UK: UKIP will reinstate the 'primary purpose rule' for bringing foreign spouses and children to the UK;
  • Foreign workers coming to work in the UK required to speak English and have accommodation and a job to go to agreed prior to their arrival;
  • EU workers, who currently have the right to live and work in the UK, facing the same points-based system and time-limited work permits that currently apply to non-EU migrants.

Commenting on the proposed policies Dr Luedicke, Senior lecturer in Marketing, who has recently completed a research paper ‘Indigenes’ Response to Immigrants’ Consumer acculturation’ said:

“The question whether a nation should limit immigration poses a fundamental moral dilemma for local people. As world citizens who believe in equality and equal rights, they find it amoral to cross-examine a married couple whether their marriage is instrumental for gaining citizenship or not. As citizens of their local communities that worry about their local jobs and cultures, however, locals tend to believe that they have a privileged position vis-a-vis immigrants. It was, after all, the locals that have built and defended "their" country for centuries and shaped its culture and economy. In this local perspective, local citizens do not consider immigrants as equal humans, but as people who have yet to prove that they deserve full membership of the local society.

“This local view is the perspective that UKIP is exploiting to win British votes. UKIP argues that the UK should close the borders to immigration, whereas other parties suggest to only allow people into the country that can show their "deservingness" in terms of economic value up front. This mode of evaluating people takes away the possibility of immigrants coming into the country without having the sought-after skills du jour, but being welcomed, supported, and enabled to contribute to the local society in their own ways. It also scrapes away the UK’s "brand image“ as a worldly, open-minded, and respectful country in which immigrants are welcome to live and thrive.

“If UKIP thinking wins more seats, local citizens vote for this particular part of themselves that believes in treating migrants not as equal humans with different cultural backgrounds, but either as economic resources if they are highly skilled, or suspects if they are not. By framing immigrants in such terms, parties give up on three of the greatest values upon which the European Union was built: human dignity, equality, and solidarity.”

#CityExperts are available for comment on General Election 2015 issues.

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