United Nations Association branch meeting

Following the AGM, members of the local branch of UNA had a discussion on the topic of Immigration, based on 3 articles from the Declaration on Human Rights, as follows:

Article 13 refers to the ‘right everyone has to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his own country.’

Article 23 refers to ‘the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable remuneration...’

Articles 3,4,5, and 14 and others relate to liberty and freedom and support those seeking asylum.

Currently the number of people migrating to the UK has been greater than the number emigrating since 1994. For much of the twentieth century, the numbers migrating to and from the UK were roughly in balance, and from the 1960s to the early 1990s the number of emigrants was often greater than the number of immigrants. Over the last two decades, both immigration and emigration have increased to historically high levels, with immigration exceeding emigration by more than 100,000 in every year since 1998.

The advantages and disadvantages on the effect of migration on both the countries losing people as well as though gaining people were considered. Many immigrants are reluctantly leaving their home countries because of war, meagre harvest, inadequate governance. It was discussed whether supporting less able countries to function more effectively would enable citizens to stay in their own communities.

Additionally UK employers (e.g. the NHS, care service industries) actively seeks to employ people from other countries (both within and outside the EU) to fill the so-called “skill gap”.

In 2013, there were 23,584 applications for asylum in the UK, covering 29,875 people comprising asylum seekers and their dependants. In the same year, immigration was approximately 526, 000. The ONS estimates that asylum seekers were around 4.6% of immigration in 2013.

The Investor Visa Scheme, which allows residency for £1million investment in government gilts, has attracted 433 millionaires since 2008.

The UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) does remarkable work with refugees world wide, however it does not always have sufficient resources and needs to be properly funded. The current situation is not being managed very well by the EU member states. The UNHCR has the knowledge and skill base to help, if they have the mandate to act.