Britain needs to introduce stricter immigration controls as further migration will weaken social cohesion, a government advisor has said.
Sir Paul Collier, an Oxford professor who advises the Department for International Development, said that migrants from poorer countries are bring their “dysfunctional cultures to developed countries” and called for them to retain links with their own countries so it would be easier for them to return home.
Sir Paul said: “I’m not advocating forced repatriation but there is a clearly a need…for some people to help build [their home] society.”
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Sir Paul said the question of whether immigration is good is a lot like asking whether food is good. “If you don’t eat food, you’re dead – but you can eat too much.”
The Oxford economics professor said that while he was not against immigration entirely, it must be controlled as too much diversity can be a bad thing for society:
“If you look at the relationship between diversity and economic performance or wellbeing then it’s hunch-shaped.
“If you get too much diversity then what erodes is cooperation first, and that shows up in much lower levels of trust.”
Sir Paul said he occupied the middle ground in the immigration debate, which has so far been dominated by two extremes – “the headless and the heartless”.
“Migration is a relatively minor process for the rich countries that needs to be managed, taking into account the rather more important interest which is the societies that these people come from,” he added.
However, migrants do not have a right to live wherever they choose, he insisted.
In his book Exodus: How Migration Changed Our World, Sir Paul says that “indigenous” Britons are now a minority in London, a claim that some critics have described as racist.
Sir Paul received a knighthood in 2014 for promoting research in Africa and has also advised the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.