Oh the irony, after 40 years the UK has finally decided to review its immigration policies by adopting a Australian-style points-based immigration system.
The system will be put in place to attract the “brightest and the best” from the developing world to work and settle in Britain.
A slightly flawed assumption however is that the workers from the newly enlarged European Union will mostly fill low-skilled labour shortages. The door will in future be closed to unskilled migrants from the developing world outside the EU, however any unskilled migrants from the EU can still pop into the UK whenever they please.
The white paper, Making Migration Work for Britain, published yesterday also proposed that financial bonds guaranteeing their return home should be demanded from migrants whose personal circumstances or route of migration suggest they may breach the immigration rules. Employers will also be expected to ensure that migrant workers comply with the rules of their visas.
The system will reward those with money to invest and the most highly skilled migrants who come to work in Britain with the right to bring their families and a faster route to citizenship than at present.
This contrasts sharply with provision for a very limited number of temporary low-skilled workers from the developing world who will be able to come for a maximum of 12 months, will have to leave their family at home, and may have their wages paid into their bank accounts back home to ensure they leave the country at the end of their contract.
The system will also include changes in the way overseas students come to Britain, and the working holidaymakers scheme, which has seen more than 70,000 Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans come to Britain, will be open to far more countries.
Hmmm, this all sounds somewhat familiar. A little too late for us but hopefully longer term the changes if implemented successfully will bring longer term benefits for the UK.