Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Sir: Having watched the debate on immigration for some time ("Immigration: the real scandal", 18 May), I have come to a conclusion which may provoke some controversy, but which could clearly solve many of our immigration service's current problems. This is that we should immediately remove all migration controls on women.Since it is the sort of thing which gets ignored because it doesn't fit into normal political boxes I thought it worth repeating here.
It is clear that many of the public's apprehensions about immigrants are really confined to male migrants: none of the missing foreign criminals appears to be female; we do not seem to have any female terrorist suspects stalking our streets, and the low-level disorder that sometimes sours relations between migrants and host communities also seems to be male-dominated (I am sure this summer will give ample opportunity for our own lads to demonstrate that young men away from home sometimes get into scrapes).
By contrast, our immigration service seems to spend much of its time chasing female migrants, who in turn seem to be the most vulnerable to exploitation by criminal gangs etc. Cutting our immigration service's workload by 50 per cent would clearly lighten their load considerably.
This could have considerable fringe benefits. A large number of female migrants would clearly benefit our economy, as few people now seriously doubt that most women work harder than most men; becoming the first democracy to have considerably more female than male voters ought to prove an interesting experiment; and around the world societies with a track record of treating women badly would face the need to reform or face extinction within a generation.