The UK Independence Party has proposed a five year period without immigration. This could only be done if the UK left the European Union. It would also invite reciprocal discrimination against the 5.5 million British citizens currently living outside the UK. Kent Green Party condemns this hugely damaging idea(1).
Dr Hazel Dawe, Chair of Kent Green Party, considers the implications for Kent: "Every year, hundreds of thousands of British citizens leave this country to live abroad. Every year, the UK allows in immigrants and migrant workers from all over the world. Doing this allows us to meet the wide variety of skills shortages we have in construction, health care, leisure, agriculture and tourism as examples. In consequence, you cannot visit restaurants, hospitals, shops or farms in Kent or Medway without meeting people who are not UK citizens."
"Just as being in the EU permits free movement of people into the UK from the EU, it also allows British citizens to live and work in other parts of the EU. These are freedoms UKIP wants to take away(2). If we had a five year block on immigration, many jobs would go unfilled in sectors where British people lack the skills to apply or lack the inclination to do some types of work. There would clearly be serious economic damage to many enterprises throughout Kent."
"We condemn this unconsidered policy as a clear indication of the Far Right extremism which characterizes UKIP."
Dr Hazel Dawe lectures in both European and Contract Law and is South East Green Party Speaker on Europe.
1. The Green Party also supports the principle of a Common Asylum Policy, to share responsibility for asylum seekers throughout the EU.
2. UKIP also wants the UK to leave the European Convention on Human Rights, despite the long erosion of civil liberties which has occurred under both Labour and Conservative governments. They also suggest that work permits would still allow migrant workers in, but many skill shortages are long-term and the growth of UK employment opportunities cannot be met from the UK labour market alone, meaning in practice immigrants are needed to meet our needs for doctors and nurses, as examples.