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Posts Tagged ‘Keith Best’

Immigrant’s Contribution to the UK: November 24th, 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 25, 2009

Immigrant’s Contribution to the UK

House of Commons, Committee Room 12

November 24th, 2009

Photo Link here

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

‘I am described as the most hated man in England’ said Keith Best, the Chair of Immigration Advisory Service UK (IASUK), referring to a BNP website as an illustration of the controversy and confusion that surrounds the immigration debate. He compared the UK where 10% of the population were born overseas to 12% in the US, 14% in France, 20% in Canada and 25% in Australia adding that none of those nations are in danger of ‘immediate social disintegration’. Yet the UK has a higher level of negativity to immigration than those other nations. (IASUK Press Release link here.) Yasmin Alibhai – Brown commented that the media had surrendered the debate to the anti – immigration lobby and that the situation was as bad as the 1960’s with both the centre left and the centre right uniting against immigration. She pushed for serious research into the effects of immigration highlighting changes in the UK since the 1960’s.

During a wide-ranging discussion on immigration chaired by Tom Brake MP and organised by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), there were also presentations from Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh, Mark Brann Secretary General of UPF Europe, Baroness Uddin and Seja Majeed. There were views also expressed from Pakistani, Afro-Caribbean and Philippine communities.

Lord Parekh explored how to frame an effective discussion (full speech link) of the immigration issue targeting neither those vehemently for or against immigration but those who remained to be influenced by accurate and logical debate. He emphasised that the immigrants who came to the UK were mostly resourceful and industrious and added £3-4 bn to the UK economy and the vitality of its culture.

Seja Majeed

Baroness Uddin

Mark Brann described the UPF ethos of ‘One Family Under God’ through True Love. He could see the growing international familial bonds through globalisation, migration and inter-marriage. He emphasised the need for the Christian indigenous community to see the Muslim and other faith communities as a challenge rather than a threat that could re-invigorate Christian values in the UK economic, social and political life.

Seja Majeed illustrated the experience of immigrants coming to the UK at one year old from Iraq via Algeria, becoming an active volunteer for many years and now a face of the Vinspired campaign. She suggested that if families involved their children in volunteer activities in their pre-teen years they would be most likely to continue.

Posted in Community Cohesion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Migration should be based on the facts and not mythology

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 24, 2009

We can absorb the current level of migration taking account of emigration

Migration should be based on the facts and not mythology

Keith Best, Chief Executive, Immigration Advisory Service UK

Keith Best speaking with Tom Brake MP and Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh

Keith Best speaking Tom Brake MP (left) Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh (Right)

Speaking in the House of Commons Committee Room 12 to an audience of Members of the Lords and Commons and others from The Universal Peace Federation (a global alliance of individuals and organizations dedicated to building a world of peace) with Lord Bikhu Parekh and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on the subject ‘Contribution of Immigrants to British Society’ Keith Best, Chief Executive of IAS, said that for too long the debate about migration has been based on poor statistics and prejudice rather than facts and this was the reason that the UK in the Transatlantic Trends survey of the USA and six EU countries comes out as the most anti-immigrant in its public sentiment.

“There is now general acceptance that migrants bring not just economic but cultural benefit to the UK, are hard workers and often do jobs that the British workforce is unable or unwilling to do. Migrants have given us our cuisine, art, literature and music” he said. “Against all the evidence of economic and social benefit come the ridiculous and wild assertions of some self-appointed so-called experts opposed to migration that migrants cost us £1 million each – an assertion on wholly flawed logic.

“Students bring more than £8 billion a year to the UK in their overseas student fees and spending power: they do not have the right to settle in the UK. Yet without those overseas students the academic institutions, many of the larger ones relying for more than half their total income on overseas student fees, would not be able to educate British domestic students as Prof David Metcalf, Chair of the Migration Advisory Committee, has pointed out.

“More people are coming for temporary purposes in a globalised world increasingly of circulatory migration which benefits both donor and recipient countries. Remittances are often a more effective way of helping an economy develop than official development aid.

“We are all migrants in the UK – it is just a question of when our ancestors arrived here. We have a rich diversity which is the legacy of Empire and Commonwealth that we should treasure. 8,000 people a week are leaving the UK to settle elsewhere – half of them are British citizens going to Australia, France, Spain and half are migrants who are returning home. This is the example of circulatory migration which will be a hallmark of the future.

“Even though parts of the UK may feel under threat by a massive influx of migrants and a majority of schoolchildren who do not have English as their first language these are issues that need to be addressed locally and do not reflect the situation throughout the UK. We can absorb and continue to benefit from the current levels of migration. About 10% of the UK population was not born here – compared with 25% in Australia, 20% in Canada, 14% in France and 12% in the USA – these are not countries on the brink of social disintegration as a result.

“We need to curb our xenophobia and accept the reality that increasingly people will make their own choices where they take their portable skills and choose to live – there are more UK citizens working and living abroad than there are EU migrants in the UK. These are the facts of modern day life.”


Keith Best,

Chief Executive

Immigration Advisory Service UK


Press Release (Click link for original)

Posted in Community Cohesion | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »