Rather than creating policies to help families and increase the native British population, the government is considering creating a “rural visa” to encourage more migration to the country’s rural areas.
In its annual report, the government’s migration advisory committee (MAC) advocated for the creation of a new visa that would encourage foreigners to spend at least five years in economically depressed areas of the country, ostensibly to boost economic production and combat ageing populations and rural depopulation.
The MAC recommended that the government reduce its already rock-bottom skills requirements for visas and to reduce visa entry fees and the healthcare surcharge for migrants in exchange for them to move to more remote areas of the UK.
“We believe it is in the UK Government’s interest to pilot and evaluate a rural visa targeted at areas facing depopulation, and that such a pilot would align with the Government’s commitment to levelling up all parts of the UK,” according to the report.
“We would caution the government against becoming overly focused on specific net migration numbers, and any change in objective would need to be consistent with the fiscal rules in place,” the MAC added.
According to the migration advisory committee, the record number of migrants is due to refugee resettlement programmes for Ukrainians and Hong Kongers fleeing their homelands, as well as student migration, which the committee claims will be temporary.
Nonetheless, while net migration has increased in the last year, it is part of a long-term trend that began with Tony Blair’s Labour Party government in the early 2000s.
At the same time that the country has seen mass migration, fertility rates among the indigenous population have continued to fall. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the fertility rate in England and Wales will reach its lowest point in recorded history in 2020.
While the government continues to look to immigration to solve the country’s declining demographics, it continues to disincentivise its own citizens from starting their own families, such as continuing the harmful policy of levying taxes on individual earnings rather than on families, punishing or even making traditional single-breadwinner families outright impossible.