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Behind the headlines

The real winners of the West’s migration crisis

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Lord Wolfson, chief executive of the fashion giant Next, recently complained about the lack of cheap labour to staff the 5am shifts at his warehouses. Before Brexit, says Fraser Nelson in The Daily Telegraph, he could simply “pick up the phone to an agency in Gdansk”, fly over as many Polish workers as needed, and pay them close to minimum wage. Not any more. Wolfson is one of many employers who “have become addicted to importing, rather than training, workers”. In Rotherham – not far from a Next warehouse advertising vacancies – some 16% of the working-age population are on out-of-work benefits. The figure tops 20% in cities like Birmingham, Glasgow and Liverpool; in total, there are five million Brits on these payouts. “No wonder GDP has stalled.” If the government did more to help these people get healthy and acquire the necessary skills, “at least a million” of them could rejoin the labour force.

As the son of immigrants, I enter this debate with some trepidation, says Matthew Syed in The Sunday Times. But it’s clear the only real winners in the migration crisis are the world’s autocratic regimes. Moscow and Beijing regard our attractiveness to refugees and illegal immigrants “as our most acute strategic vulnerability”. That’s why Aleksandr Lukashenko, the Belarusian tyrant, “weaponised the border with Poland” by bussing in asylum-seekers desperate to make it into the EU: he knew that mass migration threatens Western solidarity. Angela Merkel’s 2015 decision to accept a million refugees into Germany led to “civil war” in her party and helped bring about Brexit. Totalitarian China, from which 30 asylum seekers look to escape for every one that arrives, looks upon these struggles “and smiles” – it seeks “to foment global disorder” and weaken us further. That’s why we must take a robust approach to refugee numbers: human rights, one of the West’s great achievements, depend on social stability.