PEOPLE may be aware that from this month the Government begins issuing what it calls with an obvious nasty spin “ID cards for foreigners.”
They may not be aware what this means in practice.
First affected will be students and those marrying Britons. The plan is that gradually residents from outside Europe will be fingerprinted and have to account for their movements. Later so would we all.
This is irrelevant to refugees and the poor unskilled with nothing to lose.
But successful foreigners such as Robinho or Kevin Spacey, and the overseas students who subsidise our universities, have a lot of choice where they exercise their talents or study. Some will decide Britain has become too unfriendly.
When the US introduced more hostile visa conditions four years ago, the numbers applying to study in America fell by 15 per cent. Bill Gates complained that Microsoft could no longer hire some of the best software engineers from abroad.
If the British Government’s ID scheme continues, it will lead to a drop in income from college fees as well as lower international status for our educational institutions.
British students will have to pay higher tuition to make it up–and have less money to spend with local businesses. Fewer of the world’s star performers in every field will choose to make their homes here than they do now.
We value the contribution that these people currently make to our institutions and our society. Our country should treat them as guests, not criminal suspects.
“ID cards for foreigners” is not just a small-minded slogan–Britain will suffer culturally and economically.
Phil Booth, National Coordinator
Guy Herbert, General Secretary