Foreign workers and students from outside the EU will be forced to pay £50 when they arrive in Britain to help ease the impact of their stay on public services, The Daily Telegraph reports.
The new “migrant tax,” to be announced this week, will be levied on the thousands of immigrants applying for a work or study visas from non-EU countries.
The migrant tax is expected to raise £70 million over the next few years, to provide extra funds for councils struggling to cope with the impact of mass immigration (most of which comes from within the EU) on services such as doctors’ surgeries and schools.
Labour Ministers hope this latest assault on non-EU migrants will stop voters moving towards the right at the European elections in May.
Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, is expected to reject the suggestion that it is racist to discuss the impact of immigration on public services.
The Telegraph has revealed that she will say:
“While many migrants play an important role in our community, we need an honest debate about the local pressures that migration can create on our public services.
“This fund will pay for the public services in the areas where migration has the impact on our local communities.”
Details of the fund will be outlined this week, as part of a wider shake-up of the points-based immigration system, which is supposed to keep out foreigners who would make little contribution to the economy.
Members of the Communities Committee said that while migrants often made “significant contributions” to local communities, working in the NHS or other public services, there was “significant public anxiety” in some areas about immigration, which “cannot simply be dismissed as expressions of racist or xenophobic sentiments”.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch, said: “The Government say the new tax will raise £35 million per year. This may sound impressive, but it is a drop in the ocean compared with the huge sums spent each year by the Government as it tries to help society cope with the impact of immigration both nationally and at the local level.
“A rough estimate shows that, for every £1 the Government spends on schemes specifically to help migrants, its new tax will only raise about 7p. And that spending does not allow for the fact that one new home will have to be built every six minutes for new immigrants; nor the additional costs to the NHS and education services; nor the countless other costs to local services that large-scale immigration brings.”
Immigration Matters Comment
Migrants already contribute billions of pounds to the UK economy in taxes and expenditure. International students alone are worth £8 billion to the UK according to Home Office figures, and hundreds Colleges and Universities would not survive without the revenue they provide.
In addition migrants are already charged hundreds of millions in visa (VAF) fees, Work Permit (Tier 2) charges and Further Leave to Remain charges(FLR), which have risen sharply in recent years – and are non-refundable if the application is refused.
Employers are also being charge ever increasing fees to fill vacancies and keep their businesses running. The new licensing requirements for Tier 2 of the points based system has cost industries like the Care Sector millions of pounds in fees, at a time when businesses are facing huge compliance costs and red tape.
Non-EU migrants are being unfairly targeted when the real cause of strains on public services is uncontrolled migration from Eastern Europe.
When the EU expanded in 2004, allowing eight former Eastern Bloc nations to join the European Union, Britain was one of only three existing member states to allow free movement of Labour (along with Sweden and Ireland).
At the time, Immigration Ministers famously predicted that around 13,000 people would migrate to the UK, when the actual figure in the first year was close to half a million.
If the preparation for the EU expansion was based on an expected arrival of just 13,000 people, it is no wonder why local services are under strain and why councils require further funding from central government.
Non-EU migrants do not claim any benefits, unlike EU migrants, and have usually come to the UK to fill skilled vacancies in sectors such as the NHS and Care Industry where there are still shortages of staff.
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