And it accused the Government of failing to have a national strategy for integrating migrants.
The scathing criticism of the failure of past migration policies came in a report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration.
In the wake of the Brexit vote, we must develop a new approach to immigration
The move, which could mean the Scottish Government or the London Assembly getting powers to set migration levels, was condemned as a recipe for “chaos”.
The report from the All Party Group on Social Integration said speaking English was “the key to full participation in our society and economy”.
It highlighted a recent investigation by Government adviser Dame Louise Casey which warned that poor English skills were a barrier to integration for many migrants.
“As was acknowledged by the Casey Review, speaking English is the key to full participation in our society and the economy, and is a prerequisite for meaningful engagement with most British people,” the report said.
Dame Louise Casey’s review showed that language was one of the largest impediments to integration
The report went on to urge the Government to reassess the current “one size fits all” approach to immigration policy and consider reforming the system to more actively shape immigrant settlement patterns within the UK.
“Through the introduction of policies aimed at directing population flows to areas of the country which require higher levels of immigration or do not currently attract a great many immigrants, policymakers might minimise strain on public services and on community relations whilst bolstering regional economies,” the report said.
The APPG are calling for the government to revise their ‘one size fits all’ immigration policy
The paper raised the prospect of region-specific visas with quotas for their dissemination agreed by devolved administrations or city regions.
The APPG also called for:
- A new national Government strategy for the integration of immigrants including issues such as access to the labour market and awareness of the UK’s laws, traditions and culture;
- Councils to set up local integration action plans and the immediate introduction of an Integration Impact Fund;
- The Home Office to investigate whether new immigrants could be placed on pathways to citizenship automatically upon arrival.
The group called for some immigrants to be placed on pathways to citizenship immediately on arrival
Labour MP Chuka Umunna, chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Social Integration, said: “It’s clear that immigration has impacted on different communities in different ways and the pace of change has alarmed many.
“The Government has a duty to address the lack of integration of immigrants if it is to address this.
Chuka Umunna called for a ‘middle way’ to bisect current approaches to immigration in Europe
“We now need a meaningful integration programme which works for all parts of the UK and an immigration policy which allows all to celebrate and look beyond our differences – a middle way between the laissez-faire multiculturalism favoured by successive British governments and the assimilationist politics of the French Burkini ban.
“In the wake of the Brexit vote, we must develop a new approach to immigration which works for everyone in our country and helps us rebuild a divided nation – a system with integration at its heart.”
But the think tank Migration Watch last night raised concerns about the idea of a regionally-set migration system.
“Such a system would be totally unmanageable and lead to chaos.
“By all means, help migrants to integrate but not by regionalising immigration policy, which is much more likely to have the opposite effect.”
The Ukip immigration spokesman said that immigration control is more important than integration
“However, no matter how many deckchairs Chuka tries to move on his personal Titanic, unless we deal with the issue of mass uncontrolled migration no amount of effort at integration is going to have any serious impact.”
A Government spokeswoman said: “Our country has long been home to lots of different cultures and communities, but all of us have to be part of one society — British society.
The government responded by rolling out a £20m fund for English language teaching
“However, we must also recognise that uncontrolled, mass immigration makes it difficult to maintain social cohesion and puts pressure on public services.
“Our priority is to build an immigration system that works for everyone in the UK and delivers the control we need.“