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British PM urged to implement regional immigration policy

IANS | London |

British Prime Minister Theresa May was urged on Thursday to set up a regional immigration policy after Brexit under which some parts of Britain would be able to clamp down on the numbers of foreign workers while others could maintain an open-door policy.

According to a report in the Guardian, a group of British MPs said "regional immigration quotas" in Britain would help boost the public debate and significantly improve relations between new arrivals to Britain and longer established local communities.

The all-party group on social integration said that not enough has been done to acknowledge the impact of rapid migration on many communities. 

It also warned that the target to reduce migration to the tens of thousands had "unnecessarily stoked public anxiety" and given the impression that the government was not in control over immigration.

The group sought a comprehensive integration strategy from the government and for a requirement that immigrants speak English or are enrolled onto compulsory courses. It said that ability to converse in the local language was a "prerequisite for meaningful engagement with most British people".

Chuka Umunna, the Labour MP who chairs the group, said: "It's clear that immigration has impacted on different communities in different ways and the pace of change has alarmed many. The government has a duty to address the lack of integration of immigrants if it is to address this." 

On a regional system, the report said: "Promoting the geographic dispersal of immigrants has been shown by numerous academic studies to lead to higher levels of integration."

"In contrast, 'one size fits all' immigration systems tend to lead to lopsided patterns of chain migration, wherein new immigrants are attracted to areas with high immigrant concentrations," it said.

A government spokesman said, "Our country has long been home to lots of different cultures and communities, but all of us have to be part of one society — British society." 

"That is why we are rolling out funds for English language provision and have also made money available through the Controlling Migration Fund to local authorities to manage impacts on communities caused by issues such as poor English language skills," he said.