THERE has been more criticism of Home Secretary Priti Patel’s plans for a points-based immigration system in the UK, similar to the Australian model, with a claim it would create a “cold and inhumane society”.

It came from Migrant Voice, which helps migrant community members develop their skills and confidence, and followed The National’s report that the plans had been criticised by the SNP’s immigration spokesperson at Westminster, Stuart McDonald, and immigration lawyer Usman Aslam.

Their concern was echoed by Migrant Voice director Nazek Ramadan who told The National: “A new government brings a welcome opportunity for a new approach to immigration in this country. And we certainly welcome the shift away from migration targets that reduce people to statistics and equate success with fewer migrants. But the approach suggested by the new Prime Minister and his Home Secretary is concerning too.

“By reducing people to their skill level and income, and equating a person’s ‘value’ with their earning potential, we risk creating a cold and inhumane society where only the wealthy are welcome, where ordinary people, ordinary families are priced out.

“And to shut out so-called ‘low-skilled’ workers is not only deeply discriminatory, but also self-defeating – we need these workers in our NHS, on our construction sites, in our service industries. These are the people who keep our society ticking over.”

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Ramadan said the value of migrants went beyond their labour – they are friends and neighbours – and she was concerned that Patel was perpetuating an old myth.

“They bring new ideas and opportunities, they teach us to see the world differently,” she said. “We encourage this government to extend their ‘welcome’ to migrants far beyond those with big pay cheques to include all who wish to build an honest life here.

“We’re concerned too that in her first days in office, Home Secretary Priti Patel has chosen to perpetuate that old and dangerous myth of the scrounging, criminal migrant.

“Truth is, migrants are much less likely to claim benefits in the UK than non-migrants.

“We urge the Home Secretary to change course, to recognise migrants as ordinary, hard-working human beings, and to dismantle the hostile policies of the previous government that turned citizens into unwilling border guards, sowed mistrust among communities, and led to the wholly unnecessary destruction of tens of thousands of human lives.”

She added: “One of those policies – that meant thousands of international students had their visas wrongly revoked and their futures stolen – could be resolved very quickly and we urge her to do so.

“Only by taking such action can trust begin to be restored in a UK government that claims to value justice and the rule of law.”