Immigration to UK: is it too much, too little or just right?


The Asian British Connection (ABC) Think Tank, organized a meeting at the House of Commons on the 27th January 2010 discussing the subject ďIs Immigration to the UK too much, too little or just right?Ē



Labour MP Bruce George gave an account of the evolution of UK immigration which has unfolded during his years in office. He is one of the longest serving members of the UK Parliament. MP Bruce George recognised the need for an Equality Commission to change the heart and minds of people and emphasised that the toughening of the border laws should not be at the cost of genuine asylum seekers.  He insisted that measures to keep migration under control should not demonize any community or faith and provided research indicating that immigration had economic, social and cultural dimensions, which warrant periodic review.  



Speaking on the occasion was Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, Shadow Minister for Home Affairs and Counter Terrorism. Crispin Blunt expressed his regret that British Asians of Pakistani origin in particular (over and above other minority groups) had lagged behind in the process of social integration. He was of the view that British Muslim youth is being radicalised, particularly in Pakistan. He wished to remind the audience that Britain had dealt with terrorist incidents by the IRA, which have now been overcome. Conservative MP Crispin Blunt objected to British Muslims having arranged marriages and argued that these marriages were unhelpful for the integration of British Pakistani youth into mainstream British society. He stressed the need for migrant community to pay more attention to educating their children. In terms of future policy, MP Crispin Blunt said that the Conservative Party intended to cap immigration, the details of which he was unable to elucidate and that the minimum age limit for marriage overseas would be increased so that those getting married would be sufficiently mature to make correct decisions.



Dr Waqar Ahmed, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Middlesex University challenged Conservative MP Crispin Blunt regarding his views on marriages in Pakistan and said that it should be no surprise that people tended to marry others who were similar to themselves.



Dr Amanat Hussain pointed out to MP Crispin Blunt that whether intended or not, he was drawing an unfortunate link between immigration and terrorism, which is wholly incorrect, damaging and dangerous.



Dr Farzana Abid, Director Mental Health in Reading brought to the attention of the House that she, like many others had served in the UK all her working life as would her children and that pointing a finger at Pakistan, particularly regarding involvement in radicalization of British Muslim Youth, was insensitive of MP Crispin Blunt.  



Pakistani Diplomat, Mr Nafees Zakaria expressed his concern over MP Crispin Bluntís statement regarding British Pakistanis. Mr Zakaria explained that British-Pakistanis were living in Britain for over six decades with a population of around 1 million. He pointed MP Crispin Bluntís attention to the significant contributions made by British Pakistanis to the GDP, political process and social integration of Britain, as manifested by the presence of a large business community, Mayors/Councillors and Parliamentarians. Mr Zakaria advised that since such a large community can not be wished away, Conservative MP Crispin Blunt should take into the account the service and contribution of this community rather than alienating them. Mr Zakariya appreciated the tolerant British society and the freedom of expression, religious practices and the comforts of life available to all in UK. He said he hoped that MP Crispin Bluntís views were personal and did not reflect his political partyís belief or policy.  



Jonathan Bartley described the social impact of immigration in the UK.  His article in archived documents of ABC Think tank gives an interesting view of social implications of immigration.



Reverend Vaughan Jones gave a theological view of immigration. His ideas have been presented in a detailed article that can be seen in the section of ABC Think tank articles.



Prof. Rupert Brown from Sussex University provided insight into the psychological aspects of immigration. His ideas have been presented in a detailed article that can be seen in the section of ABC Think tank articles.



Prof. Christian Dustmann of University College London gave a presentation on Immigration with figures and charts suggesting that immigration to the UK was one of the lowest amongst the European countries.



Dr Tariq Mahmood, Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist and the  Chairperson of Asian British Connection (ABC) Think tank, concluded the meeting pointing out that economic, social, theological and psychological views and research had been presented in the forum. He suggested that a common emerging theme was that skilled workers should be welcomed to the United Kingdom. Immigrants to the UK have been hard working and their positive efforts have been beneficial to society. British society would be poorer without them and heterogeneity of culture makes our society safer than if it were homogeneous.

Dr Mahmood thanked all the speakers and  Faisal Quraishi, Mishka and Chisom for introducing the speakers to the audience. He specially thanked MPs Bruce George and Crispin Blunt as well as Diplomat Mr Nafees Zakaria  for their presence. Saliha Mahmood was also thanked on behalf of the youth wing of the Think tank. and Mr Akber Mehmood for photography and press coverage.


Summaries of all these papers can be read by double-clicking on the link here


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