Why don’t the British withdraw from the asylum system?

“The Tory immigration failure” (UnHerd, 11/28/2022):

Over the past year, according to data released last week, net migration into Britain has soared to 504,000, the highest on record. This means half a million more people are coming into Britain than are leaving – that’s a city the size of Liverpool every year.

But not only are the Tories presiding over record amounts of legal migration, they are also overseeing a rapid rise in numbers of people arriving in the country unlawfully, in small boats across the Channel.

The number of people arriving in this manner has now rocketed from 300 to nearly 40,000 in five years. The largest single group of foreign nationals on the boats come not from a war-torn country but Albania, a country that is currently in talks to join the EU.

… the number of outstanding asylum claims has just reached its highest point on record, with 140,000 asylum-seekers waiting decisions and fewer than one in five being processed.

Who voted for this? Who wants this? If you look at the latest surveys, only 10% of Britain thinks immigration since the Brexit referendum has been “too low” and only 19% want it increased in the years ahead.

By pushing on with mass immigration, by failing to genuinely take back control of Britain’s borders, by refusing to reform modern slavery legislation and Britain’s relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the only things that would enable the country to truly regain control of its borders, the Conservative Party is about to send British politics all the way back to the early 2010s, where a divided society gives rise to an ugly populism.

A majority of Brits voted for Brexit and, therefore, implicitly for a reduction in low-skill immigration. The UK is a sovereign nation. What stops the UK from saying “We withdraw from the The 1951 Refugee Convention and, therefore, asylum is no longer available”?

October 2022:

16 thoughts on “Why don’t the British withdraw from the asylum system?

  1. Sounds like British conservatives are somewhere to the left of US Democrats. Good luck to the Brits with paying stipends to all these economic refugees, fossil fuel subsidies, $2.7B for the war in Ukraine, etc.

  2. Why don’t the US, the UK, the EU (and countries with all kind of agreements with it such as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and the European microstates), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Israel _all_ withdraw from the convention and form a new convention in which they would grant asylum only to citizen of the signing countries?

    • UK is not ruled by British anymore. Look who are the bosses in 10 Downing or in London’s mayoral office. I do not think the national suicide is reversible at this point.

    • Anon: an interesting idea, but I think the UK is a special case because they actually had the popular referendum on essentially this issue. And yet the government does the opposite of what the people said they wanted!

  3. It seems as if elites both in Britain and here are able to pursue policies that are at variance with the wishes of a clear majority of citizens. So here elites pursue policies that give residency and likely citizenship to whomever can run across the Rio Grande fastest, adopt policies that mandate race preferences for hiring, the award of government contracts, and school admissions, and bail laws in many jurisdictions have been “reformed” so as to encourage criminality that puts the safety of citizens at risk. It would seem that a clear majority of Americans oppose these policies but nonetheless the government pursues them without repercussion.

    • Ricky: isn’t the situation in the U.S. different? The majority of us voted for Joe Biden, the open-border candidate.

  4. Because the number of asylum-seekers the UK receives is tiny compared to its European peers, France, Italy or Germany. Most of the UK net immigration is legal, desired, and driven by the UK’s failure to train its own people for needed skills in all sectors of the economy.

    Just one example: an inevitable consequence of Brexit was going to be a fall in the number of EU doctors and nurses, so it would make sense for the UK to increase enrollment in its medical schools to compensate, but they have refused to do so. Many Brits go to medical school elsewhere (Bulgaria is a very popular destination), but then decide they’d rather move to Australia or the US and make serious money in a country with a future instead of the abysmal working conditions and mediocre pay of the UK’s NHS.

    Another example: the country desperately needs truckers. At one point, gas stations were running out because there were not enough truckers certified for tankers. Many had been hired away by supermarket chains like Tesco that offered better pay, and it’s a specialist job that an ordinary trucker can’t do, yet is considered an unskilled trade by the ministry of transportation. Furthermore, DVLA (the british DMV) is highly centralized in one office, has IT systems so archaic they couldn’t support WFH and that office is so large it became the worst Covid hotspot and had to be shut down. Essentially no driver’s license has been issued or renewed for over a year, so no new truckers, and many unable to work because their license has lapsed. Furthermore, the IR35 tax rules for independent contractors are so onerous that the older truckers they did have opted to retire instead.

    Everywhere you look, there is the same incompetence. In 2017, on Kwasi Karteng (minister of industry at the time, before he failed upwards to Chancellor of the Exchequer) allowed privatized gas utility Centrica to decommission 70% of the UK’s natural gas storage capacity, because it was unprofitable and “the market will provide”. They are now scrambling to reverse this, but probably not in time to prevent massive disruption when other European countries are filling up their intact gas storage to withstand winter and Russian hydrocarbon arm-twisting.

  5. Guess the Ukraine war has been rough on everyone paying rent in Europe but it’s been great for home owners.

  6. The new UK Prime Minister’s main source of wealth comes from marrying the daughter of the billionaire founder of infosys, an indian firm that provides Western businesses with cheap indian IT workers (offshore and “temporarily” onshore). Don’t expect any reduction on UK immigration when the PM’s personal fortune depends on it.

    • His own not inconsiderable personal wealth comes from finance. On the contrary, the fewer skilled IT staff immigrate to the UK, the more UK businesses have to rely on outsourcing. And then you have cases like Maersk who was saved from NotPetya by it’s UK IT staff, and rewarded them by offshoring their jobs instead. Most British firms are run by bean-counters and just as callous and short-sighted.

      Given how badly paid UK workers are outside finance, it’s a wonder there are still engineers left to develop world-class products like Rolls-Royce jet engines., and that everyone with half a brain doesn’t go into well-paid but parasitical activities like law or finance instead.

  7. I have difficulty understanding the mentality that has to be required to think that the MONEY it costs to support this grows on trees. But when you say out loud: “who pays for this?” you are villainized and met with “it’s inhuman to worry about such things. Just take care of these people and worry about how to pay for it later”. When you are talking about 500k people per year as in this case, the money required is not insignificant.

    • Nobody seems to mind when it’s the taxpayers money being spent. Corporations earn more revenue, certain industries may get a bit of cheap labor at the expense of blue collar already-citizens.

  8. Many normal people agree that no-one arriving from France should be a legitimate asylum seeker (the days of Émile Zola having passed), but the UK legal establishment is dead keen on the 1951 convention which it considers its own historic achievement, and this carries over into the political world since so many have a lawyerly background. At a time when the UK wants to boost the international rule of law regarding waging aggressive war, CO2 emission reductions, etc, renouncing a treaty is seen as a bad look.

    BJ might have got an abrogation through after the last election but (a) it wasn’t his sort of thing (b) various things came up. I don’t think the current government has enough momentum to do so even if the Home Secretary favours it against the will of her department.

    [In the British Government, the Foreign Office tends to represent the interests of other countries against those of the UK, while the Home Office is renowned for incompetence and backsliding.]

    • I wouldn’t call it “renouncing” if the treaty never says that signatories have to stay in it forever. Conditions change. Transportation technology changes. Human population levels change. In most other areas we don’t say that we are locked into how we did things 70+ years ago.

Comments are closed.