MORE than 50 million African workers are to be invited to Europe in a far-reaching secretive migration deal, the Daily Express can reveal today.
A controversial taxpayer-funded “job centre” opened in Mali this week is just the first step towards promoting “free movement of people in Africa and the EU”.
Brussels economists claim Britain and other EU states will “need” 56 million immigrant workers between them by 2050 to make up for the “demographic decline” due to falling birth rates and rising death rates across Europe.
The report, by the EU statistical agency Eurostat, warns that vast numbers of migrants could be needed to meet the shortfall in two years if Europe is to have a hope of funding the pension and health needs of its growing elderly population.
It states: “Countries with low fertility rates could require a significant number of immigrants over the coming dec ades if they want to maintain the existing number of people of working age.
“Having sufficient people of working age is vital for the economy and for tax revenue.”
The report, by French MEP Francoise Castex, calls for immigrants to be given legal rights and access to social welfare provision such as benefits.
Ms Castex said: “It is urgent that member states have a calm approach to immigration. To say ‘yes’, we need immigration . . . it is not a new development, we must accept it.”
The proposals include the creation of a “blue card” system, based on the American green card, that provides full working and welfare rights.
Blue card holders would be entitled to move freely across the EU, setting up home in any of the 27 member states.
Last night Sir Andrew Green, of MigrationWatchUK said: “En land, with Holland, is already the most crowded country in Europe.
“As it is, we have to build the equivalent of seven cities the size of Birmingham over 25 years for the immigrants the Government already expects.
“Yet again the ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy of the EU produces absurd results. These would be ridiculous proposals if they were applied to the Britain.
“The Government must ensure that these work permits are not valid for the UK.
“Higher levels of immigration are the last thing we need with a recession approaching.”
And Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve said: “When ministers are talking tough about efforts to control immigration, they need to provide a clear explanation that national policy is not being undermined through the backdoor in Brussels.”
The UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage attacked the move as “an outrage”. He said: “The sooner Britain gets back control of immigration policy, the better.”
The proposals—part of the Africa-EU Partnership signed in Portugal last December—also warns of the negative effects of mass immigration and calls for “better integration of African migrants”.
It calls too for a compassionate approach to the eight million illegal immigrants already living in the EU.
It states: “Irregular migrants must not be treated like criminals. Many risk their lives seeking freedom or the means of subsistence in Europe. As long as the EU has a higher standard of living than those countries to its south and east, the temptation to come will exist—especially if there are jobs to be had.”
The declaration calls on the EU to assist African governments to set up migration information centres “to better manage labour mobility bet ween Africa and the EU”.
The first was the job centre opened in Bamako, capital of Mali, on Monday. Other centres are expected to open soon in other west African states and later in north Africa.
Yesterday the Daily Express revealed that, in an apparent contradiction of immigration policy, thousands of migrants—like Kanoute Tieny from Mali—are being given up to £5,500 in grants by the EU to return home to Africa.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy wants to implement an EU-wide immigration plan by the end of the year when he stands down as head of the Council of the European Union.
This body implements policy proposed by the European Commission and discussed by the European Parliament.
French immigration minis ter Brice Hortefeux has represented all the 27 EU states, including Britain, in a succession of whirlwind tours through west Africa to help create a strategy.
Last night the Home Office said the UK had nothing to do with this EU plan.
A Border Agency spokesperson said the initiative is aimed at promoting legal migration routes in the Schengen area of the EU which the UK opted out of. The area includes most but not all member states.
“We therefore retain full control of our own borders and our asylum system.”