Health Checks for Immigrants

Splendid post from Andrew Bartlett on Mr Howard’s recent and rancid proposals to require migrants to the UK to undergo mandatory health checks.

People interested in the subject should look forward to the publication of James Hampshire’s book, Citizenship and Belonging: Immigration and the Politics of Demographic Governance in Postwar Britain, out from Palgrave Macmillan in May this year, which discusses the debates inside government the last time these issues were chewed over with any seriousness. From what I remember of the argument from when I was chatting to James about what was then his D.Phil thesis, ill-health among nonwhite immigrants often tended to owe to grotty living conditions in this country, rather than to illnesses brought in from outside, and that while Irish immigrants tended to be less healthy than non-white immigrants, the proposals to introduce compulsory health checks always dealt entirely with non-whites.

(In the end, compulsory medical testing was not introduced, and the random testing that was tried resulted in very few exclusions indeed. Since what Mr Howard announces today Mr Blair will probably pick up and run with tomorrow, it’s probably best to hope for a broadly similar outcome this time around.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.