Is The UK a “country of immigration”?

World population density map

Population density per square kilometre – Source: Wikipedia

It’s fashionable for British politicians to side with the argument that immigration to The UK should be on some kind of points system according to the potential immigrant’s skills. Along with this usually goes the argument that Britain is a “country of immigration”. I heard this argument just today on The Week in Westminster on BBC Radio 4.

A country of immigration. What does that mean? Well, let’s consider what other countries are COIs. There’s The United States of course and Australia. I’m not aware of any other country that deems itself a country of immigration.

I don’t expect the native Americans or Australian aboriginals consider their land a country of immigration but as modern countries both The USA and Australia were both initially Anglos Saxon so that is one thing that they have in common with the UK. All three countries are democracies and all have English as the predominant language.

However, I’d argue that what makes Australia and The USA countries of immigration is their low population density. In short they have loads of space. The USA has 25 to 49 people per square kilometre and Australia only 0 to 9 people per square kilometre. By contrast, the UK has 150 to 299. Figures according to Wikipedia.

The house prices in the UK are astronomical, the traffic is heading toward gridlock, getting a seat on a train is a miracle. The UK is full yet Keith Vaz, MP thinks that The UK is a Country of Immigration so none of this matters. He is of course…….


All countries accept some degree of immigration and immigration has made a huge and positive contribution to The UK but The UK has no special designation as a Country of Immigration. The term is put about by the pro-immigration lobby to somehow establish immigration as an ongoing part of British culture.

Let me make it clear that I have no preference which races or religions do not come to The UK. We should accept asylum seekers and EU citizens of course but the idea of opening up The UK to immigration by ability is merely part of New Labour’s project to turn a sovereign country into the first corporate state. It may increases GDP and make Gordon Brown’s spreadsheet look good but individually, black, white, Christian, Moslem or atheist, we all lose out to overcrowding.

My little poll seems to be slighlty weighted one way but almost even.

If you voted in the poll please also leave a comment and explain why you hold your opinion.

7 thoughts on “Is The UK a “country of immigration”?

  1. Of course it’s a country of immigration anybody from anywhere can come here join the money queue, the housing queue (at the front).Never having paid a penny in contributions, we have MUG wruitten on our foreheads in big dayglo letters, the rest of the world is laughing at us. Stop it now.

  2. “being a country of emigration is much, but much worse…..”

    Interesting – How so?

  3. I am an immigrant to the UK. I moved from Pakistan to the UK back in 2005 under the points-based immigration system then called the HSMP visa, now renamed to the Tier 1 (General) visa.

    I voted Yes to the poll.

    The reason I voted Yes isn’t because I think that UK is specifically a Country of Immigration but because I think all countries should be countries of immigration. I think that people moving around in the world is a wonderful idea. I don’t know if I will still be living in the UK 10 or 15 years from now. I may go somewhere else to taste a different kind of life. I may decide to go back to Pakistan. I may stay here.

    I think if more countries opened up about people moving around, it will allow more interaction between people of differing or even opposing views and skills would gravitate towards those countries where those skills are in demand.

    That is a pretty powerful notion in my opinion. Your point about population density has some merit, but I think that in itself isn’t that big of a problem as it seems to be on the face of it. For example, most of Europe has a pretty low birth-rate and potentially a lot of British folks might like to go live in Italy or Poland or Slovakia. There’s a lot of Europeans living and working in the Gulf (where I lived for a year back in 2000). Similarly, there is a huge influx of people from the West going to work in China.

    I think in future, more and more countries should and will open up their borders, much like Europe has within itself. That is the only way we can realistically, and non-confrontationally, increase engagement with each other and make this world more peaceful.

    More Star Trek than Star Wars.

    In answer to the poster above who asks how being a Country of Immigration is better than being a Country of Emigration, the latter suffers from many problems. The most significant of them is brain drain. Another one results from the fact that the “desirable” leave, leaving behind the less-skilled and that has a detrimental impact not only economically, but also socially and politically. All of which worsens the core reasons why people are leaving the country in the first place.

  4. Yes it is, I say. I am an American immigrant and I’ve come to this country for marriage. A good percentage of the people I’ve met here are 1st or 2nd generation immigrants. But myself aside, if you look back through the history of this island, it is one of constant immigration and movement of peoples. From the Celts through to the Anglo-Saxons, to the Dutch and the West-Indians, at nearly every time in this country’s history there has been a wave of immigrants from some part of the globe. The most quintessentially British names have there roots in German or French or Welsh, and these are all people who have come here. I think to be British is to be part of this fusion of cultures which have come to this island, one after the other, at some point in this islands’ history.

  5. Both the two replies immediately above mine and your original post resonate with me. As a result I was forced to vote ‘undecided’ due to both arguments having a very great pulling power. Catching foreign brains and letting them join in education, or business projects, offers meaningful advantages, but since the most obvious solution to overcrowding -for now- seems to be suburban sprawl rather than vertical extension, mayhaps a heavy handed cap on anyone sans a BA/MA is called for.

    In a typing sense I’m just thinking aloud here, rather than expressing some rigid gut-deep opinion (if pressed I’m not sure I can really boast to have any of those), but I look at a problem like immigration and I see the only problems being overcrowding, and potential (sometimes only percieved) misallocation of welfare resources. The latter looks like a big cause of resentment for both citizens and immigrants, depending on who one asks.

    The former of those two immigration problems can be solved by expanding major urban centres vertically more than is done at present, and any potential food shortage can be made up by the provision of hydroponic farms within skyscrapers in urban areas. Might not look pretty, but it might make the UK a somewhat longer lasting entity than it currently is.

  6. Is it just me or is the British passport going through Inflation?
    I just get the feeling it’s not worth as much as it used to…

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