Immigrants’ jobs prove they are worth welcoming

Passport check, from photo by Peretz Partensky, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 licenceAnother day, another government initiative to reduce immigration. They feel they need to do something so as to satisfy those on the right, particularly the tabloids, that they are trying to cut immigration. So they have announced measures that will make it even harder for people from outside the EU to work in the UK. Never mind the fact that this makes life very difficult for employers in areas such as science who have to jump through increasing numbers of hoops in order to employ the people they require. Of course, what they never mention when announcing their initiatives is that they are doing exactly nothing to reduce immigration from the EU, which accounts for about a third of all immigration (according to figures in this article – numbers are hard to find.) The reason is that they can do nothing about it, as EU citizens have the same rights to work as British citizens. Hence the increasingly tight squeeze on workers from outside Europe.

The argument against immigration is mainly that they take jobs from British people. However, the question I’d ask is why those jobs go to an immigrant instead of a British person anyway. All other things being equal, one would expect an employer to appoint a native of this country over a foreigner. After all, a recent arrival in this country will be unfamiliar with the culture and customs here, may have problems with English (even if only slight) and so on. The fact that immigrants get jobs says to me that they must be better suited to those jobs than the British people who complain they are losing out. If the immigrants weren’t here, surely it would mean the job was no longer done by the best person?

Of course, that assumes the British person actually bothered to apply for the job in the first place, rather than stay at home on benefits. How many of the jobs are filled by immigrants because British people think the work is beneath them, for example working as a cleaner; or because British people are unable or unwilling to gain the necessary qualifications, for example a PSV driving licence in order to become a bus driver.

I think the fact that newcomers to our country are able – despite the inevitable, if subconscious, discrimination that employers are bound to have against employing a foreigner – to find employment ahead of their British counterparts shows that they are already playing a valuable part in society. Perhaps, if we think the country is becoming overpopulated, we should send some of the useless British people to developing countries and let them find jobs there, as I’m sure they soon would in the absence of benefits. Then the rest of us can be left in peace to enjoy our vibrant country, which has after all been shaped by the many waves of immigration it has seen throughout its history.

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