Improving Whitehall debate on immigration

Abigail Watson • 6 June 2019
To improve Whitehalls debate around immigration we propose a secondment policy so those making decisions are more aware of the international issues

Immigration is linked to broader issues, including international cooperation, trade and economic issues, foreign policy, development, environment and global conflict and Security. None of these issues can be addressed easily or in the short term but to improve the UKs approach we must ensure its officials have a better understanding of the interrelated issues of immigration.

As such, we propose a secondment system in which Home Office officials that make key decisions on immigration policy are obligated to spend time in other internationally focused departments - such as the Afghanistan desk in the FCO, West Africa desk in the MOD or Sahel desk and in DFID. Members of internationally focussed departments should also be encouraged to spend time at the Home Office, perhaps changing the culture or mindset of it and, perhaps, improving the decisions that are made.

This system could also be applied to MPs assistants and special advisers, to help them develop their own MPs policy and discourse around immigration. In doing so, this may allow the system to better take account of these other issues

This could promote a discourse that makes the public discourse more aware of the interconnectedness of all of these Issues with migration. In doing so, we hope it would create a fairer immigration system.