ANTI-RACISTS savaged Boris Johnson yesterday after the Tory leadership hopeful said he would emulate Australia’s notorious immigration policy if he becomes PM.
The former foreign secretary said he wanted to restore the public’s faith in Britain’s immigration system and be “tougher on those who abuse our hospitality.”
Mr Johnson said he wanted to “learn from” Australia, which has a strict cap of 160,000 permanent migrants per year. Immigrants are approved on a controversial points system that ignores family links.
The nation has two types of permanent visa, either through sponsorship by a specific employer or an independent application. Both require the applicant to accrue 65 points to move.
Higher points are awarded to those who are aged 25-32, have “superior” English language skills, hold more work experience, have higher qualifications such as doctorates, or work in occupations on the country’s job shortages list.
Criteria which are awarded with zero points include those who are over the age of 50 or are only considered to have “competent” English language skills.
Britain already has a point-based system for non-European Economic Area migrants which sets visa eligibility by similar criteria to the Australian system.
Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott called Mr Johnson’s announcement “yet another ill-considered electioneering proposition.”
She told the Star: “He needs to explain to Tory members that a points based system like Australia’s is designed to attract migration and increase it.
“It’s also unclear how it would address the labour and skill shortages we have in sectors across the economy, including the NHS. Labour’s immigration plan is for a simpler, fairer policy that supports the needs of our economy and ends the Tories’ disastrous hostile environment.”
The Green Party tweeted that it is “utterly shocking that Johnson would recycle Ukip immigration policy from 2015,” while Labour MP David Lammy called him the “human embodiment of the hostile environment.”
US President Donald Trump tweeted yesterday that “much can be learned” from Australia’s policy on immigration and from flyers distributed by the Australian government which warn migrants away.
The policy, aided by slogans such as “NO WAY, you will not make Australia home,” was the brainchild of Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He is well known for harsh immigration policies and often appears on TV endorsing the campaign slogan “Stop the boats.”
Human rights groups have repeatedly condemned the conditions in Australia’s camp system. Amnesty International has said the infamous Manus immigration detention centres are unsafe and “hellish,” and United Nations representatives said they were “deeply concerned” by the conditions in the camps.
Stand up to Racism spokesman Weyman Bennett told the Star that the Australian policy is “systematically racist and discriminatory,” and had a character test that “Mr Johnson himself will fail.”
He said: “The far right and Boris Johnson are eulogising the Australian immigration plan this stands in the tradition of Margaret Thatcher who gave a spirited defence of Australia’s controversial immigration policy.
“It is the shameless attempt to win a policy which is supported by Nigel Farage and feed the story that immigration is the major problem facing working people, rather than a banking crisis in which the rich gave more to the rich. It is divide and rule that Boris Johnson represents with this backward policy.”