27 Feb 2017, 35 mins ago

Since the UK voted to leave the EU in June last year, various discussions have taken place over what the UK’s stance on immigration should be following Brexit. On 5 January 2017, CNBC reported that a panel of UK based lawmakers were questioning whether the Canadian approach to immigration might be a solution for Britain. 

Currently in Canada each of the 10 provincial governments is able to establish individual region-specific quotas for immigrants. The policy requires immigrants to live in that specific area of the country, which has approved their visa until they become eligible to seek Canadian citizenship. The philosophy behind the system is that by allowing each provincial government to create its own quotes, it ensures that area-specific economic and cultural needs are met and maintained. 

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Migration has supported this proposed system for the UK and further recommended that English lessons become a compulsory requirement for immigrants. Chuka Umunna, Labour MP and group chair, said: “We must confront the fact that immigrant communities and members of the settled population in some parts of modern Britain are leading parallel rather than interconnected lives”, an issue which “has been swept under the carpet for too long.” “We now need a meaningful integration programme which works for all parts of the UK and an immigration policy which allows all to celebrate and look beyond our differences.”

If implemented, these changes may also assist employers as the Canadian system currently allows local governments to address labour shortages in certain fields and industries and enforce place-specific cultural criteria. At the moment, the Scottish ‘shortage occupation list’ is the only system in UK immigration policy that allows employers to offer jobs to non-EU nationals without having to advertise domestically.

If the UK decides to adopt a system similar to that of Canada, it could minimise the negativity felt around Brexit. An approach to immigration that allows for more regional control might help to rebuild public confidence in Brexit based on a system that won’t inhibit people entering or staying in the UK and will work to support local areas and businesses.