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UK Government could encourage migrant workers to live in rural Wales to ‘counteract depopulation’

14 Dec 2022 3 minute read
Picture by Phil Dolby (CC BY 2.0)

The UK Government should test out a visa to encourage migrants to live and work in rural areas such as Wales, according to its advisers.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which briefs ministers on immigration policy, said migrants continue to be drawn to London over other regions of the UK and recommended a pilot of a “rural visa” to see if this would help “counteract depopulation” in countryside areas.

The body’s chairman Professor Brian Bell told reporters many of the areas could be in Wales and also Scotland.

Stressing that a pilot was important first to see if the idea works, he said the number of areas in question should be “limited” and suggested the plan could involve creating immigration rules allowing lower skilled migrant workers to be employed in rural communities.

This could potentially help fill vacancies in agriculture, possibly attracting more seasonal farm workers, as well as in fishing and hospitality – particularly cleaners, bar and waiting staff.

“International evidence” suggests the policy could have some effect, he said as the MAC’s report published on Tuesday highlighted examples of “regional dimensions” in Australia, Canada and New Zealand’s immigration systems.

The findings added: “Evidence for the efficacy of rural visas in countries of the UK’s geographic scale is limited.

“We do not currently have sufficient evidence on migrant retention in rural areas and a fully evaluated pilot would help to build this evidence base.

“Such an approach would be in keeping with the Government’s levelling up agenda, utilising the immigration system to address some of the negative impacts of rural depopulation, including the inability to sustain local public services and key industries that play important regional and national roles in our economy.”

‘Protection’

Deciding how many visas to offer would be a key question in developing the policy and census data that could give indications on where the pilot might work, Prof Bell said.

He added: “You don’t want it to be too big that it becomes a massive part of the immigration system and then you get lots of concerns. But you want it to be big enough that you can actually begin to see the effect and actually see whether it works as intended.”

But he also warned there could be “a higher risk of exploitation” in offering such a visa as workers are tied to a particular area which may have “quite a thin labour market” because there are not many employers competing for workers.

There would need to be “good enforcement of labour market standards and protection of migrant workers” as a result, Prof Bell added.


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Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
1 month ago

Esgusodwch fi! Mae yna ddigon o bobl ifanc a hoffai fyw ym mroydd eu mebyd yn y Gymru wledig na allant oherwydd diffyg Deddf Eiddo. Dyna un ffordd o liniaru diboblogi, hynny a rhoi’r gorau i eilunaddoli twristiaeth sy’n cynnig swyddi cachlyd iawn gan fwyaf.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago

In parts of Powys the voting age population already has up to 40% of immigrant English. How will they react to Feeble Fay Jones “flooding” them with Albanian donkey drivers riding Hi-speed JCB Fastracs down the lane outside their rural retreat?

On a more serious note how will these migrants cope with being seasonal minimum wage, ZHC workers in the most expensive parts of Wales and where on earth will they live when the only two homes to rent in Hay-on-Wye are £1200 a month or more?

Last edited 1 month ago by Kerry Davies
hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Some clever dick in Whitehall probably thinks that pouring immigrants into West Wales will accelerate the assimilation project. After all most immigrants just want to be Saeson and have little or no interest or respect for our native language, culture identity…. etc

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

I must say the Ukrainian familes we have been fortunate to meet have more than appreciated the croeso cynnes they have met in our part of Wales. They are learning Welsh, are any of us learning Ukrainian? Other nationalities are also adding to the ‘commonwealth’ of Wales in the North West, and we are grateful for the skills and energy they bring…

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

This is my experience too of our Ukrainian guests. In fact, many say they can relate to us here in Cymru, living in the shadow of a much greater and far more dominant culture, and go on to learn Cymraeg accordingly.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

If you propose to move to Ukraine then you should learn the language, and it could help with integrating recent arrivals into our nation. As Rhufawn says below maybe an oppressed group like the Ukraine people are more likely to be empathetic. Still doesn’t explain why so many other ethnicities turn up in South Wales just bustin’ a gut to be Saeson bach.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Rishi and his witches hold a ‘black mass’ cursing migrants yesterday and low and behold before the sun has risen people drown in the English Channel…the power of evil intent…’malice aforethought’ they call it in law…

Last edited 1 month ago by Mab Meirion
WilliamsG
WilliamsG
1 month ago

Ethnic Cleansing by any other name

Ivor Schilling
Ivor Schilling
1 month ago
Reply to  WilliamsG

Wales is indeed being ethnically cleansed of its own native populace. Bred out, bought out, pushed out. Its death by demographics, and is deliberate. London and UK Establishment simply don’t see Welsh nationhood as in any way legitimate, and our country’s non-existent border with England allows for us to be drowned, our voices to be drowned out, and our political class is completely on board. Plaid Cymru is incapable of properly dealing with this, the major attack threatening Wales’ very existence, because it is deemed to be too politically incorrect. Our politicians would prefer to be the ‘most moral person… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Ivor Schilling
Mawkernewek
1 month ago

Maybe the motivation is because to enforce it, there would have to be movement controls, internal passports, surveillance which we would all become subject to, and that is the whole point?
How would it apply to someone working from home? Would they be allowed to work for an employer based in a zone their visa isn’t valid for?

Glen
Glen
1 month ago

The Tory voting, white-flight element will love this.

Argol fawr!
Argol fawr!
1 month ago

Along the same lines as Russia’s policy, 19th century-to date with some success in most of their western bordering nations.

Last edited 1 month ago by Argol fawr!

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