King in Charge:
How the Coronation Could Boost UK's Immigration
The coronation of King Charles III represents more than just a change in the UK’s head of state; it is a symbol of a new beginning for the UK, with the potential to redefine the nation’s image on the global stage.
As the figurehead of the nation, the monarch plays a significant role in shaping the country’s international reputation. Queen Elizabeth II was regarded as a steadfast, loyal and calm figurehead who was above all devoted to her duty. This image would, rightly or wrongly, come to symbolise the UK as a whole during her reign, and for many people across the world, Elizabeth II personified her country. While it would be unrealistic to expect all British monarchs to have such an effect on the international reputation of their country as she did, it does illustrate how the personality of the King or Queen can affect perceptions of the UK as a country.
By embracing inclusivity and diversity, King Charles III could create an atmosphere that attracts migrants looking for a tolerant and forward-thinking nation in which to build their lives. The ascension of a new monarch can signal a commitment to progressive values and a fresh outlook, creating a more welcoming environment for immigrants.
As Prince of Wales, Charles has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to the Commonwealth, a political association of 54 member states, most of which are former territories of the British Empire. Throughout his life, he has fostered strong relationships with these countries, promoting their shared values and cultural ties. As King, Charles III could use his influence to strengthen these relationships further, opening doors for increased migration from the Commonwealth nations to the UK. By nurturing these connections, the UK may become an even more attractive destination for those seeking a brighter future.
What about Tourists?
The coronation itself makes the UK an attractive destination for tourists and visitors, due to the events, entertainment and general atmosphere of festivity and pageantry that it generates, as well as the desire to be present for a major historical event. While there are currently no official statistics on the number of visitors to the UK for the coronation, many businesses that are central to the UK’s tourism industry, such as hotels, travel agents and tour companies, are reporting huge increases in custom for the coronation weekend, while there will be a far higher number of people travelling to London by train on the weekend in question too.
This is in keeping with trends set during previous royal events in the recent past: statistics show between 400,000-450,000 Visitor visas granted between 2017 and 2018 every quarter, but this average rose by 84% in the run-up to the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle.
Media and the Global Spotlight
As a result, as well as the fact that the world’s media will be focused on the UK, the coronation presents an opportunity for the UK to showcase its rich culture and diversity on the global stage. From the grandeur of the ceremony itself to the celebrations that follow, the event will highlight the best of British traditions, creativity, and innovation.
The global spotlight on the coronation could have long-term effects on the UK’s economy and job market, showcasing the nation as a hub of innovation, culture, and opportunity. As millions of people worldwide tune in to watch the festivities, the UK’s enhanced global reputation and soft power could pique the interest of potential migrants, particularly professionals and entrepreneurs looking to contribute to the UK’s thriving industries. The cultural exposure provided by the coronation may inspire individuals to consider the UK as a welcoming and dynamic place to live, work, and raise a family.
This fits in well with the fact that post-Brexit, there has been a large increase in all forms of migration to the UK but particularly in those holding Skilled Worker visas, due to the UK’s shrinking workforce. While it is harder for employers to bring in workers from EU countries, it is easier to bring in ones from outside the EU due to the lower salary threshold and the increase in occupations eligible for a Skilled Worker visa. But while work visas have seen a big increase, the number of visas issued to investors and entrepreneurs has only seen modest growth. Therefore, it is vital that the UK shows the world that it is open for business and an attractive destination for those looking for business opportunities
The coronation is the perfect occasion to broadcast that message to the world, as a well-executed coronation will showcase the best of what the UK has to offer, potentially igniting a desire in those watching it to move to the UK. Those inspired to do so will find that businesses in many sectors of the UK economy are very open to sponsoring a work visa for them, and while it is already easier than previously for people outside the UK to get a work visa for the UK, it could soon become even easier, as there are growing calls from business groups to remove more of the bureaucratic barriers to sponsoring a visa.
The end result is that the beginning of the new Caroline era may coincide with a new wave of migration from across the world to the UK, as Britain attempts to use the coronation to define its new post-Brexit and post-Elizabethan character. If so, it will usher in a new era for the UK, where the pomp, pageantry and tradition of the monarchy meet a country that is becoming more diverse and which is keen to welcome as many talented and skilled people from across the world. The coronation, therefore, will prove useful as both a yardstick from which to measure the beginning of this new era and also a potential catalyst for a new wave of migration.