23 June

EU vote will mean change for immigrants in UK regardless of outcome

by Ray Clancy on June 7, 2016

If the UK leaves the European Union life for expats across the continent will change and now the opinion polls are indicating a rise in support for exiting.

The latest online survey from YouGov puts the Leave campaign three points ahead of Remain at 45% and 41% respectively with 11% undecided while another online survey from TNS records Leave at 43% and Remain on 41%.

What is interesting is the issue that are emerging in the polling with immigration one of the biggest. The Leave campaign has stated that it will push for the introduction of an Australia style points based immigration system if it wins the referendum vote on 23 June.

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Indeed, the YouGov poll showed concerns over immigration had increased among the electorate, with 20% of people now ranking it as a top issue, a rise of 3%.

The figures comes as a new report from independent not political group Migration Watch shows that a huge rise in London’s population in the last two decades has been driven solely by immigration. The UK born have remained at 5.2 million while the foreign born have doubled to three million.

This means that the majority of children born in London have foreign born parents. Between 2001 and 2011 some 540,000 children were born to parents who were both foreign born while 505,000 were to parents who were both UK born. In 2012 only one third of births were to parents who were both UK born.

London’s population is projected to continue to grow to 10 million in the next 15 years, driven by international immigration and births to the current and future immigrant population, the report says.

The polls indicate that a lot of British people believe that too many immigrants have been able to move easily to the UK because of the country’s membership of the EU with figures showing a particular influx after countries such as Poland and Romania also became members.

But Prime Minister David Cameron had said that it will be easier to control immigration by remaining a member of the EU. He believes one reason for recent rises in immigration from other EU countries is that the UK economy has outperformed Europe but he expects immigration from and emigration to the EU to come into balance as the economies of countries such as France and Germany picked up.

His plan is to ensure that new arrivals did not claim unemployment benefit and left after six months if they did not have a job and his recent renegotiation with the EU will mean that all those arriving in the UK should make a contribution for four years before getting full welfare access.

Whatever happens on the 23 June, experts believe that the vote will result in changes for people moving to the UK and not just from the EU. Citizens of Australia and New Zealand, for example, are now having to contribute to health costs.

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