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    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on November 25th, 2010

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    Hi Blog.  Here’s another entry for the “shoe on the other foot” department — how Japan businesses squeal “foul!” when they face visa restrictions on their Japanese hires within Britain, and threaten sanctions and pullouts.  Imagine if a foreign government were to try to do that to Japan for its visa programs, which are technically designed to give backdoor preferential treatment to unskilled workers? I’m pretty sure people would comment that the GOJ has the right to regulate its borders as it sees fit.  Never mind comity, I guess. Arudou Debito

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Firms pan U.K. immigration plan
    Cuts in investment threatened if cap is placed on skilled workers
    The Japan Times, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010
    , courtesy of Getchan
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20101120a1.html
    By WILLIAM HOLLINGWORTH
    Kyodo News

    LONDON — Japanese firms are threatening to review future plans to invest in Britain if the new government follows through with its proposal to put an annual cap on immigration levels.

    Corporate executives have told ministers that moves to limit the number of skilled people from outside the European Union who can be employed in Britain will seriously harm their businesses.

    Japanese firms are particularly concerned about plans to curb the number of senior staff who can engage in short-term intracorporate transfers, as well as limits on recruiting skilled staff from outside the EU.

    Britain’s new center-right government has decided to cap immigration due to growing concern that non-EU citizens are taking jobs away from the British.

    In July, an interim cap was imposed on skilled workers, but ICTs are currently exempted. But a new cap will be introduced in April, and ministers are consulting on how big it should be and which sectors should be covered, including possibly ICTs.

    Critics say Indian ICTs to Britain have been conducted in order to acquaint staff with information technology functions so the work can later be sent overseas. They also claim there are plenty of unemployed British IT workers who could perform the jobs.

    The government is aiming to bring immigration down to “tens of thousands” each year compared with hundreds of thousands under the previous government.

    Japanese firms say it is unfortunate that a new system designed to crack down on abuses might hamper those who have always followed the rules.

    “The JCCI has communicated to U.K. ministers and officials in September its strong concerns about the introduction of further limits on non-EU immigration and the possible impact on the existing operations and future investment of Japanese companies in the U.K.,” said Patrick Macartney, manager at the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    The local Japanese automakers, which regularly transfer high-tech engineers from Japan to Britain, have been lobbying hard to get ICTs exempted from the proposed cap. The urgency is underlined by the fact that both Nissan Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. have just announced major new investments in environment-friendly cars.

    But the newly imposed cap on skilled workers is already impacting Japanese firms in Britain.

    Katsuji Jibiki, a human-resources manager at Mitsubishi Electric Europe, revealed at a recent business seminar that his firm has been denied work permits to recruit about 30 engineers from outside the European Union.

    He said, “These days we have big difficulties with work permits. Every year the government changes the policy and it is a big headache for us.”

    Jibiki added that if the problems persist “there is a possibility of transferring our regional headquarters from the U.K. to continental Europe. We are thinking about such contingency plans.”

    Rest of the article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20101120a1.html

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Japanese firms lobby British government to rethink immigration plans

    Kyodo News/Japan Today, November 23, 2010, courtesy of MMT

    http://japantoday.com/category/lifestyle/view/japanese-firms-lobby-british-government-to-rethink-immigration-plans#show_all_comments

    LONDON —

    Japanese firms are threatening to review future investments in Britain if the government goes ahead with plans to put an annual cap on immigration levels.

    Company bosses have told ministers that moves to limit the number of skilled citizens from outside the European Union that can be employed in Britain will seriously harm their businesses.

    Japanese firms are particularly concerned about plans to curb the number of senior staff who can be transferred from Japan on a short-term basis, or intra-corporate transfers, as well as limits on recruiting skilled staff from outside the European Union.

    The new center-right government has decided to impose a cap on immigration due to growing concern that non-EU citizens are taking jobs that could be done by skilled British people.

    In July, an interim cap was imposed on skilled workers but ICTs are currently exempted. A new cap will be introduced in April and ministers are consulting on the size of the cap and which sectors should be covered, including possibly ICTs.

    Critics say some Indian ICTs to Britain have been conducted in order to acquaint staff with information technology functions so that the work can later be offshored. They also claim that there are plenty of unemployed British IT workers who could carry out the jobs.

    The government is aiming to bring immigration down to ‘‘tens of thousands’’ each year from hundreds of thousands under the previous government.

    Japanese firms say it is unfortunate that a new system designed to crack down on abuses could hamper those who have always followed the rules.

    Patrick Macartney, manager at the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Kyodo News, ‘‘The JCCI has communicated to UK ministers and officials in September its strong concerns about the introduction of further limits on non-EU immigration and the possible impact on the existing operations and future investment of Japanese companies in the UK.’‘

    Japanese car companies in Britain, which regularly transfer high-tech engineers from Japan to Britain, have been lobbying the government hard to exempt ICTs from the proposed new cap. The urgency is underlined by the fact that both Nissan Motor Co and Toyota Motor Corp have just announced major new investments in eco-friendly cars.

    But the newly imposed cap on skilled workers is already impacting on Japanese firms in Britain.

    Katsuji Jibiki, a human resources manager at Mitsubishi Electric Europe, revealed at a recent business seminar that his firm has been denied work permits to recruit about 30 engineers from outside the European Union.

    He said, ‘‘These days we have big difficulties with work permits. Every year the government changes the policy and it is a big headache for us.’‘

    Jibiki added that if the problems persist ‘‘there is a possibility of transferring our regional headquarters from the UK to continental Europe. We are thinking about such contingency plans.’‘

    And speaking at the same event, Stephen Gomersall, the European chief executive of Hitachi Ltd said, ‘‘There’s a danger that immigration legislation which is justified on totally different grounds can have operational consequences for sophisticated Japanese manufacturers.’‘

    The British Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee has studied the idea of a cap and taken evidence from Professor David Metcalf, chairman of the Migration Advisory Committee, the government’s independent adviser on migration issues.

    He told members about an encounter with Japanese executives ‘‘hostile’’ to the cap. They told him, ‘‘We provide huge foreign direct investments into the UK. Are you saying that it may be difficult for us to get our people in?’‘

    The committee has warned that if the cap is set too high it could have a negative effect on business. Members recommend ICTs to Britain for under two years should be exempted.

    The government says that it is listening to the concerns of the business community and recognizes the need to administer the cap flexibly.

    Some analysts have speculated that the government could exempt certain sectors from the cap.

    Firms are currently allowed to recruit skilled workers from outside the European Union if they are unable to fill posts with the local population or the job is on a list of ‘‘shortage occupations.’‘

    Due to concern over immigration levels, Britain has already curbed the number of unskilled workers accepted into the country and placed tougher restrictions on student visas.

    ends

    24 Responses to “Japan businesses cry foul over UK visa regime, threaten pullout. Fancy that happening to the GOJ.”

    1. Johnny Says:

      Actually I do wonder if your criticism is a bit offtrack here Debito.

      Having worked for a couple of foreign companies in Japan now, I can’t say that I have heard of there being any difficulty with getting visas for head office staff to come here and work.
      Maybe it depends on the company, but I haven’t seen any evidence that Japan makes it difficult for companies to bring staff over. Not to say that it doesn’t happen of course.

      – I might be off track here (but I do know that visa tightenings have made things more difficult for people in Japan to get certain jobs and switch visas). My point is, if the GOJ made similar moves as the UKG, would we see similar official howls and threats? Or would people more politely defer to Japan’s sovereignty? I suspect more the latter. Sorry for not making that clearer.

    2. Kimpatsu Says:

      As I’m all for punishing the Japanese government for its racism, I think that if Japanese companies want to quit Britain, fine… but tax all disinvestment at 100%. That’ll make them sit up and take notice.
      As for what would happen if Japan tried it, the government would simply play the “inscrutable Japanese” card (i.e., “our culture is too special for you barbarians to understand”), and unfortunately, many Western politicians would swallow it. So we also need to table educating Western politicians as a priority.

    3. debito Says:

      WSJ reports (thanks KC):

      “Japan has one of the most restrictive immigration policies in the world, and the debate over whether to allow more foreigners to settle in the country has long been a contentious, politically charged issue for the nation. But recently, calls to allow more foreign workers to enter Japan have become louder, as the aging population continues to shrink and the country’s competitiveness and economic growth pales in comparison with its neighbor to the west: China. A minuscule 1.7% of the overall Japanese population are foreigners, compared with 6.8% in the United Kingdom and 21.4% in Switzerland, according to the OECD.”

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704526504575634151044954866.html?mod=WSJASIA_hpp_SecondTopStories

      I will have the full WSJ article up on Debito.org for commentary in a couple of days. I have a more urgent matter which will be tomorrow’s blog entry. — Debito

    4. Chris B Says:

      The problem is unchecked immigration into the UK from Europe has resulted in vast numbers of (I mean 100,000s, probably millions) mostly unqualified Eastern Europeans flooding into the UK and literally overrunning infrastructure, seriously straining schools, hospitals and housing as well as undercutting and swamping low-skilled jobs. This has meant that while 10 years ago the UK was very tolerant of immigration and foreigners, now almost everyone is starting to question immigration.

      As the government cannot stop EU immigration, the only area they can have any effect is non-EU immigration, but unfortunately those are the immigrants we most need, those tend to be the highly qualified ones…

      We might not have much growth in inward investment and high-tech lucrative business in the UK any more, but if you want your windscreen washed, it’s a buyers market…

      This is why I do think Japan needs to allow a higher level of immigration, but it should do so very carefully, making sure they only take the creme de la creme of the immigrants available, and also ensure that those immigrants are not ideologically opposed to the Japanese, and indeed western democratic way of life (we in the UK have significant problems with home grown terrorists and other larger groups who while they may not normally be violent, are fundamentally opposed to British Democracy) and at the same time takes immigrants in a way that does not cause significant overall population growth or strain infrastructure (surely Japan does not need to become any more densely populated, albeit rapid depopulation is very undesirable too).

      In summary, if immigration is not handled carefully, any goodwill Japanese do have to immigrants will soon be destroyed as it has been in the UK which would be very counter-productive for all of us who want to see a more tolerant and modern Japan emerging in future years.

      – In short, we need an Immigration Policy, if not an Immigration Ministry, to establish clear and present standards. The GOJ is in no process of doing that AFAIK. So it is a bit rich for the UKG to do something like that and attract howls.

      Point of order: Please give us some links to substantiate the first paragraph. I would like to avoid any “River Tiber foaming with much blood” speeches here.

    5. jonholmes Says:

      @Above,
      “This is why I do think Japan needs to allow a higher level of immigration, but it should do so very carefully, making sure they only take the creme de la creme of the immigrants available, and also ensure that those immigrants are not ideologically opposed to the Japanese”

      1. There is no effort to attract the creme de la creme, no benefits, no rights.

      2. “Ideologically opposed to the Japanese”?? Thats a dangerous catch-all! Forced listening to J pop, no English or Chinese speaking allowed, strict Japanese diet (Immigration used to come round to check the contents of your refrigerator if you wanted to naturalise, no Kimchee allowed).

      Sounds like I am exaggerating, but
      Debito had a tough time in a certain company in Hokkaido, along similar lines, I believe.

      Often the definition of what is ideologically Japanese is very, very narrow.

    6. Joe Jones Says:

      Actually, the Japanese visa system has become pretty easy in recent years. There is now no college degree requirement for an “international services” visa as long as the company is publicly listed or pays withholding taxes over 15 million yen a year.

      http://www.moj.go.jp/ONLINE/IMMIGRATION/ZAIRYU_NINTEI/shin_zairyu_nintei10_12.html

      So sizable companies can basically hire as many foreigners as they want — the previously frustrating requirements (a college degree for “international services,” one year at the company overseas for “intra-company transferee,” etc.) only apply to smaller companies.

    7. eyeinthesky Says:

      Debito,
      Keep up the good work and dont let the freaks contaminate your blog. Everybody has weaknesses and you found his, first his fraud then his picture. He aint happy about both, aka he is owned. Good work, now carry on with what you do best.

    8. John (Yokohama) Says:

      Love the “grave political consequences.” part…

      http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20101125f1.html

      “Selective immigration for highly skilled urged

      By TAKAHIRO FUKADA

      Staff writer
      The Japan Forum on International Relations, a Tokyo-based think tank, urged the government Wednesday to accept more foreign workers and tourists while being selective in accepting long-term residents.

      In a report submitted to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the forum argued that Japan should focus in particular on accepting highly skilled professionals.

      The report urges the government to be cautious about granting local-level voting rights to permanent foreign residents, saying it is “probably unconstitutional” and could lead to “grave political consequences.”

      The paper was signed by 87 policy committee members of the forum, including prominent politicians, scholars, business leaders and former diplomats.

      It says municipalities and other entities should direct foreign residents who aren’t proficient in daily Japanese to take language courses and provide them with opportunities to master practical Japanese with minimum financial burden.

      Under the selective immigration policy, the forum suggested the priority should be on accepting foreign migrants like scientists, researchers, highly skilled workers and business managers “who can contribute intellectually and/or technically to science, technology and industries to which Japan attaches strategic importance.”

      On arrangements for foreigners with insufficient Japanese proficiency, the forum advised the government to ascertain their language ability prior to their arrival in the country.

      The Japan Times: Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010″

    9. Jeff Says:

      “Having worked for a couple of foreign companies in Japan now, I can’t say that I have heard of there being any difficulty with getting visas for head office staff to come here and work.”

      It’s not difficult. There are requirements that must be met by the company to support visas, and then it’s a matter of process. I recommend to use a Gyosei Shoshi that does it as her routine business. Surprisingly, the other things needed to organize an office to support foreign (and local, for that matter) staff proved to be harder.

    10. Paul T Says:

      @Chris B. As an expat Brit, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments and you are absolutely 100% accurate in both your description of the tide of unchecked immigration into the UK and its consequences. Debito and anyone else who doubts the profound impact on the indigenous culture that Tony Blair’s open door immigration policy has had, please take a look at this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1b9J8D3tOg This is what West London looks like today. You can see the same in East and South West London. Whole regions across the north of England are now effectively no-go areas for white British people. Bear in mind also that the Commission for Racial Equality, the official body charged with responsibility for race issues, found that nationwide, 50% of muslim men and 70% of women do not work and live off state benefits. This is not racist hearsay, but fact published by the British government’s own department. As for the effect that Blair’s “visas for votes” policy has had on the lives of indigenous Londoners, well you can see for yourself. As Chris says, London in particular has always been a tolerant place. But it’s not anymore – tolerance has washed away in a cultural tsunami that has established sharia law and muslim culture as the norm.

      Like Chris B, and I am deeply concerned about Japan’s future because a) there’s little doubt Japan needs immigration due to the changing demographic, but b)there is a worrying naivety about the determination of certain groups of immigrants to resist any efforts to integrate and to force their own beliefs and ways of life onto the indigenous population. And I’m not just talking muslims here, but western immigrants as well. As someone whose country and culture has effectively been destroyed by immigration, I would urge the Japanese authorities to change policy with extreme caution. Sorry it’s probably not what you want to hear, but I think anyone who loves Japan feels the same.

      – Links to the Commission for Racial Equality’s findings, please. And more substantiation for the claims of “no-go” areas and “sharia as norm”, please.

      And some of us who love Japan don’t feel the same. Your invective is obscuring your points.

    11. Netko Says:

      I can’t believe what I just saw here. What kind of argument is that? Full of value judgment, loaded expressions like “wrong” or “failed.” The video of West London doesn’t really explain what “failed immigration policy” means. The “reporter” seems to be mostly concerned with the people’s ethnicity and “race,” and nothing else. The video doesn’t convince me that immigration is _scary_, inappropriate, or even that the people in the footage aren’t British. Doesn’t “British” mean the fact of having the U.K. citizenship? It’s a legal category. If the people in the video are not “Caucasian” (and which I’m not even sure most aren’t) that means they aren’t British? If somebody took a video of the students coming out of Ritsumeikan University, they may say Japan isn’t what it used to be. If they took a video of my family (Japanese spouse, one kid, and I) they could say 2/3 of us aren’t “real” Japanese and how Japan is changing (for the worse?) and it’s not what it used to be. So what? The Japanese aren’t what they used to be either. The British too. What are people in mixed marriages to do; which of the offspring can be seen as “real” Japanese or British… depends on their phenotype maybe?
      Anyway, the video is showing an ethnic mixture of people (some wear what looks like African dress, some plain “western” clothes, some Arabian attire, etc.), so if they freely mix and live with such diversity, I don’t understand why only “white” people would feel that’s a no-go area for them.
      It seems that some people who comment here aren’t natural born Japanese citizens, but they still stay here in Japan and they consider that acceptable. However, they are concerned about Japan’s future and the big(gest) problem seems to be the immigrants (like themselves). While they don’t think that they themselves, as immigrants into Japan, are destroying Japan’s culture and this country, they worry that other immigrants will. Too bad they don’t explain why people like themselves aren’t a threat to Japan’s culture and how we can develop valid and reliable measures of the fitness of immigrants to allow into Japan. Highly educated, skilled, are the best match? Who says they’ll want to assimilate or even acculturate well. (And I don’t even think that one has to be assimilated, only integrated.)

    12. J.J. Says:

      Thank you Debito!

      Really, no more National Front laced statements without actual references. May as well quote Kipling, then, while you’re at it.

    13. OG Steve Says:

      Hmmm, I watched that video you posted (with the mute button on) and I didn’t see ANYTHING wrong AT ALL.

      I saw a bunch of people walking around, living their lives, law-abiding, peaceful, innocent humans. The majority of them just happened to be not white, so what?

      I also saw some white folks in that video: folks who weren’t scared to live among non-whites.

      So when you said, “Whole regions across the north of England are now effectively no-go areas for white British people.”

      I think what you meant to have said is, “Whole regions across the north of England are now effectively no-go areas for “the group of white British people who happen to be scared racists.” Meanwhile, “the group of White British people who DON’T happen to be scared racists” are enjoying life as usual, living peacefully among the brotherhood of man, with a relatively lower monthly rent I might add, good for them!” :-)

    14. Marius Says:

      While trade may suffer I’d like to see Japan made to pull out.

      I believe most; if not all; unfair rules for foreigners here would never be resolved unless dealt with through governments. Whether it would be immigration, custody laws, work security or anything else from the long list of unfair- or “special” treatment.

      It’s almost as if Japan designed its laws and foreign policy to circumvent having to bother with those pesky rights one might enjoy abroad: with less immigrants there’s no need to accommodate rights. Whether Geneva, the “trainee” workaround or other.

      However there are just too few foreigners and foreign cases for any single country to justify rocking the boat with Japan. Trade first, rights later.

      Which is why I’d like Japan to follow up on this threat and pull out. With a bit of luck, and more attention to the less than adequate laws (perhaps through this site/blog and its readers), more countries might follow. Then this island country would have a hard time to stand on its own and would be forced to revise its policies.

    15. jonholmes Says:

      that youtube link is from the British Nazi Party, you know those guys who came to Japan to support the rightists at Yasukuni Jinja recently.

      That doesnt help a serious discussion on Immigration. Normal people would like to have one without a racist agenda.

      Could the BNP stop dishonoring Britain’s war dead and acting as stooges for Imperial Japanese fascism revivalists please?

      Thanks.

    16. ken44 Says:

      jonholmes Says:

      —1. There is no effort to attract the creme de la creme, no benefits, no rights.—

      I agree. Japan just doesn’t have a lot to offer the best and brightest that are looking for a new place to call home. On the other hand I wouldn’t recommend Japan open its’ doors to any and all who apply either. My guess is not much will change and twenty years from now those of us still in Japan will be having this same conversation.

    17. OG Steve Says:

      Public Service Announcement – when making a video about how immigration is a “bad thing”, it is essential to show immigrants actually, uh, doing some bad things.

      To be effective, one should splice together a scary collection of verbal attacks, physical assaults, muggings, rapes, robberies, murders, purse-snatchings, a little face-spitting for flavor, a few bloody stabbings, some folks getting bottles smashed over their head (a classic crowd-pleaser), a nice long montage of people ruthlessly kicking others when they’re down, and the big finish should show the cameraman himself getting beat-up and then having his camera smashed to the ground, cut to static, fade to black.

      And remember, one must be extremely diligent when editing: it is vital to your argument to edit-OUT all the examples of people from YOUR race committing the exact same violent acts, of course. To be extra sure you don’t incriminate your own race as being equally violent, make sure to delete all your footage from pubs, football matches, military hangouts, frat houses, biker gangs, and all poor white violent neighborhoods. ;-)

      Now, you’re all set, whenever people are having a rational discussion about immigration, you can post your scary video highlighting the dangers of non-whites, and soon you’ll be successfully convincing folks that “people with dark skin are inherently bad and should be KEPT OUT!” ;-)

    18. J.J. Says:

      Yep, propaganda and scare tactics always work! Lol
      Japan just needs to make policies that attract business instead of the “cut off the nose to spite the face” attitude. The article was talking about visas for work: most Japanese men working abroad intend to return to Japan eventually, so the gov’t assumes most people would be inclined to think the same around the world. As a NYC native, I have seen how Japanese companies took full advantage of using lenient visa policies to create monopoly situations, and by doing so saw themselves being reviled for it. Immigration in general is a totally different matter.

    19. D.B. Cooper Says:

      At #4
      Britain, which did open its borders to the new EU countries, seems to have benefited. A recent study undertaken by Christian Dustmann, professor of economics at UCL, demonstrates that the new wave of immigrants significantly benefited the UK fiscal system. In the tax year 2008-2009, the immigrants contributed in direct or indirect tax 33 per cent more than they received from any public service. An amazing result especially when compared with the 20 per cent negative contribution for native Brits. According to Professor Dustmann these new immigrants are “60 per cent less likely than natives to receive state benefits or tax credits, and 58 per cent less likely to live in social housing”.
      Another myth busted by this study is that immigrants continue to invade Britain. In 2008, 56,000 of these immigrants left the UK, against 25,000 in 2007. This is confirmed by Tim Finch, head of migration research at the Institute for Public Policy Research, who declares “it is the first time we have anything more than anecdotal evidence that people are going home in quite big numbers” with “signs of immigration tailing off”. Thus, far from destroying Britain’s welfare state, the new immigrants have greatly contributed to the country’s economy and many are actually returning home; proof that the Polish plumber was not so bad.

      Christian Dustmann homepage
      http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctpb21/index.htm

      Tim Finch in The Guardian
      ‘Our economy has benefited from the influx. The migrants were, by and large, just the sort we needed. Young, fit, educated, skilled, ready and eager to work’.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/08/eu-economic-immigration-poland

      I am against all immigration laws and find these posts calling for Japan to allow in only the ‘creme de la creme’ and the ‘best and brightest’ disturbingly elitist.

      ‘Immigration laws are inherently racist, since their purpose is to exclude outsiders. And they feed and legitimise racism. Far from being a natural feature of the political landscape, they are a relatively recent and disastrous distortion of it, explicable only by racism.
      Immigration controls deny people’s right to freedom of movement and the right to decide for themselves where they wish to live and to work.’

      http://www.noii.org.uk/no-one-is-illegal-manifesto/

      Page concerning immigration and its discussion in the U.K.
      http://leftoutside.wordpress.com/2009/09/06/migration-is-not-a-crime-but-the-way-its-discussed-is-criminal/

    20. OG Steve Says:

      @D.B. Cooper

      Thanks for sharing such relevant and extremely mind-opening info.

      Here are some gems from the links you provided:

      “The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, ‘Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody’.”

      – Jean Jacques Rousseau, ‘Discourse on the Origin of Inequality’

      *

      “Let me lay my cards upon the table. I find it very, very difficult to see a convincing moral justification for restricting immigration which extends beyond self-interest. Many people want to come here because they know that life in the UK offers a higher standard of living than where they are from. That applies, with varying degrees, as much to Polish plumbers as it does to Congolese rape victims. Whether would-be immigrants are motivated by economic or asylum issues, they want to come here because it’s better than where they are from.

      Yet nobody anymore deserves to be born in Congo than in Poland or in Britain. Birth is something nobody controls – and yet it decides so much. The rub is this: we Britons no more deserve to be born into a prosperous developed nation with a welfare state and high standards of living than a Congolese deserves to be born in war-torn, devastated Congo, or a Pole into better-than-Congo-not-as-good-as-Britain Poland. So how can we look Poles or Congolese or whoever in the eye and say “no, you cannot come here and share in what we’ve got, because you were born somewhere else”. That argument holds no moral water with me: I honestly don’t see why it is any different, as it stands, from saying “no, you cannot come here and share in what we’ve got, because you were born black”.

      What is often doing the work in anti-immigration rhetoric, I contend, is something rather closer to the following: “We have more than you, and we don’t want to share, and we are going to keep you out and use the arbitrary fact of your being born elsewhere as our stated justification for keeping you out.” And that, when laid bear, is a rather unconvincing justification for closing the door to immigration, because it just amounts to selfishness.

      There’s something I’ve left out of my above argument, something which makes my points about arbitrariness even sharper: that much of the world is poor because we in the Britain in particular are rich. For in this debate about immigration, the British Empire is the biggest elephant that ever plonked itself into the tinniest of rooms. Acknowledging that elephant could be a very powerful thing to do.

      Let’s cut the shit. Part of the reason Britain is so prosperous is that we spent several centuries sailing around the world, raping, killing, enslaving and exploiting indigenous populations whilst stealing their natural resources. As Joseph Conrad noted regarding the scramble for Africa, which was the last big land-grab the Western powers including Britain took part in: “The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much.”

      And to get back to my starting argument: arbitrariness of birth is no justification for denying people a share of our wealth.”

      – Paul Sagar

      *

      “In the tax year 2008-2009, the immigrants contributed in direct or indirect tax 33 per cent MORE than they received from any public service.

      In the tax year 2008-2009, the native Brits contributed in direct or indirect tax 20 per cent LESS than they received from any public service.”

      – Christian Dustmann, Professor of Economics at University College London

      *

      So, in summary:

      Regardless of what part of earth one happened to have been born in,
      humans have the undeniable birthright to move freely to any part of the earth.

      And as it happens, even though rich folks are scared of poor folks,
      immigrants actually produce MORE than the public services they receive,
      non-immigrants actually produce LESS than the public services they receive.

      So take your pick, either open the gates for the sake of human fairness,
      or open the gates for the sake of your country gaining increased revenues.

      If you don’t open the gates, you are not only depriving people freedom of movement,
      the ironic thing is, you are masochistically hurting yourself: Japan.

      – OG Steve

    21. Allen Says:

      Somewhat related news:

      Firms slightly mollified on U.K immigration

      Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010

      (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20101127a3.html)

      “LONDON (Kyodo) The Japanese business community in Britain gave a guarded welcome Thursday to plans for an annual limit on immigration.

      On Tuesday, Britain announced it will introduce in April an annual limit of 21,700 work permits for skilled graduates coming from outside the European Union, referred to as tier one and two.

      But intracorporate transfers, or senior staff transferred to British operations from overseas head offices, will be excluded from the cap as long as they earn a minimum of £40,000 (¥5.28 million) a year and are coming for more than 12 months.

      The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Britain said it welcomed the announcement to exclude intracorporate transfers but is concerned that putting a ceiling on non-EU skilled workers could impact firms….”

      Rest of article: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20101127a3.html

    22. Chris B Says:

      Just to back up what I was stating above here are two articles from respected (centre-left) British newspaper the Guardian (certainly don’t want to be accused of making rivers of blood speeches!):

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jan/17/eastern-european-immigration-hits-wages

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/apr/29/eastern-european-immigration-uk-general-election

      Personally I am the last person to be anti-immigration or anti-foreigners per se, but the numbers speak for themselves and also I speak from first hand experience. Even where I live in a fairly rural area, a majority of the shop assistants and others in non-skilled jobs are from Eastern Europe, and in the local primary schools 10-15% of children have parents from Eastern Europe. Where I live there is space in the schools, but in more urban areas, they really are struggling (let me be clear I blame the government for not putting in the resources, not the immigrants).

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11536829

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-444801/Immigrant-baby-boom-puts-NHS-strain.html

      I don’t have a problem with the Eastern European immigrants, after all they are often more polite, friendlier and harder working than the locals and generally I enjoy living in a very cosmopolitan environment, but obviously their sudden appearance and high visibility make them a target for scapegoating and they also make a increasingly large section of the population feel they have been “invaded” – that’s not how I feel, but I’ve heard more and more people saying it and from the kind of people that previously one would rely on in the country to make up the silent, tolerant majority. Yes, they are being small-minded and to a varying extent racist, but once you have the moderates feeling this too, it starts to have negative effects on policy etc… hence the recent destructive and irrational reaction of the new UK government.

    23. Chris B Says:

      @ Paul T

      That video you have quoted is from BNP, which is a completely vile organisation which I would oppose with my last breath. However, the video footage of west London is obviously genuine. Personally in and of itself, I don’t have a problem with the racial and cultural mix of the UK becoming more and more diverse.

      I have to say I am surprised about the figures regarding Muslim benefit claimants, but having looked it up, the original report said that half were without work, which admittedly in the UK probably means they are living off benefits. Here is a Telegraph article referencing the report:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8054403/Britains-coping-classes-at-breaking-point.html

      For the record, most of my friends who are Muslims are extremely hard working and certainly not claiming benefits.

      Where I do have a problem is where some immigrants and in the UK, and it is mostly Muslim immigrants, not only fail to integrate into the country but actively seek to overthrow it. To be clear, I have no doubt that large swathes of Muslim Britons have no such intentions and are hard working, respectable citizens who just want to raise families and live peaceful lives like the rest of us. However, there are a number of groups in the UK which have varying levels of support among the mainstream who at least want to see elements of Sharia law activated in the country and at worst wish to overthrow British democracy and create an Islamic state. This was shown clearly in the respected Channel Four Dispatches documentary – Britain’s Islamic Republic, for example. In my own case I will never forget the fact that within hours of the 9/11 attacks many “moderate” Muslims I knew (and I have quite a few good Muslim friends) were throwing parties to celebrate, I can’t prove that now, but I witnessed it with my own eyes and I wish it hadn’t been the case.

      What I wouldn’t want to see (or be on the receiving end of, or have my family on the receiving end of) would be anti-foreigner sentiment (or worse attacks) from the Japanese because Japan had flung open its doors and allowed in a significant number of foreigners with bad intentions and bad attitudes, which I would argue has occurred in the UK, which has not been helpful to the indigenous population or the vast majority of well meaning and immensely beneficial immigrants who have come here with the best of intentions.

      I take Jon Holmes’s point as regards what constitutes Japanese and the point that in the process of establishing this in Debito’s case they looked in his refrigerator, but (and I stand ready to be corrected Debito) my understanding of this “inspection” was that they were looking not too see if Debito had taken on every last element of stereotypical Japanese culture, but to check that his attitudes and way of life were not completely at odds with Japanese society. It’s probably been the best part of a decade since I read that report from Debito, but as I recall Debito had no problems passing this “test” despite living in a pretty standard western/Japanese manner. I am not one for state intrusion into people’s private lives and I am sure I would find such an inspection intrusive and an invasion of privacy, but on the other hand, I can see some benefits to this kind of background check seeing as in the UK we have managed to give citizenship or visas to a fair number of terrorist leaders, operatives and advocates despite the fact that when they were given visas and citizenship their history of support for violent Jihad against non-muslims was often on the public record and well known, indeed in some cases, for example some (including some non-Islamic) immigrants were known to have been implicated in genocidal acts and other human rights violations.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11701269

      What I’m saying is that if we want Japan to become increasingly tolerant we would all be better off if Japan was careful about which foreigners it lets in and the speed at which it goes about it.

    24. TT Says:

      I think Johnny is a bit off track here, not Dave. The typical conversation I might have with a Japanese person usually goes something like this.

      J: I work for an American company.

      M: Oh Really, how many people work there?

      J: Oh, about 4000.

      M: How many of those workers are not Japanese? I mean gaijin. Not many?

      J: Oh, no, there are a lot. I’d say about 11, or 12.

      Next day..different Japanese student

      M: Why are you studying English?

      J: My company is sending me to the UK to be a manager.

      M: Oh really, why do they need you, I mean, it seems that there should be someone in the UK who has the same qualifications, and would presumably know the UK market better.

      J: Oh, um, uh, well the head office needs someone they can communicate with in Japanese. Communication is important, you know.

      M: So, why are you studying English?

      J: To communicate with my workers, and fellow employees.

      M: ???

      Next day, yet another Japanese student

      J: I work for a foreign company, my boss is Canadian (in a resentful tone)

      M: Ah, I see, well why don’t they just hire a local person, seems like it would be easier.

      J: I don’t know, I don’t understand it either!

      M: Mmm hmm

      – Not sure how indicative these conversations are meant to be.

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