Are immigrants stealing our jobs?
With unemployment at levels at 7.8% and the economy struggling to grow, the question is often asked are foreign immigrants stealing our jobs? In a properly regulated market immigration does not have a serious effect on British jobs. The problem with Britain currently is that is does have a couple of policies that have a negative effect on British workers through positive discrimination toward immigrants. Also barmy immigration processes in which those who claim asylum in the UK, and often offer the least to Britain’s economy than any other type of immigrant are protected by human rights laws which make them difficult to move. While more highly skilled workers have to wait long periods of time for their visa to be processed which negatively affects small British businesses which often cannot wait for potential new employees to get a visa, meaning talented immigrants end up going somewhere else instead. Which in turn loses Britain the best of the global talent, the governments immigration cap for those they deem to be of exceptional talent is 1000 last year only 37 visas were given to immigrants who the government deem to be in the exceptional talent category meaning we are losing out to rival economies around the world.
So there are some problems with our system but the good news is there are some easy solutions. Firstly it is important to remove some myths about the immigration system, people who come and work in this country are net contributors meaning they put in more to the system than they take out. Also government policy on immigration is not what is losing British people jobs it is in fact employment law and enforcement of the minimum wage. Finally, Immigration increases Britain’s level of full employment meaning higher GDP and higher living standards for all (I am well aware we don’t need to increase our levels of full employment at the moment but we did when the economy was booming so it is worth mentioning.)
I am now going to look at immigration's negative effects on British jobs and some simple changes which will negate these effects meaning that everyone can benefit from immigration. The reason people feel like immigrants are steeling British jobs is down to some phenomenon in employment law, companies based in the UK are allowed to only hire foreign workers if you are like me you will think this is grossly unfair and totally ridicules. The reform I propose is simple and you have probably already thought of it make it illegal to discriminate against worker based on nationality it would be seen as discrimination if firms only hired British people so firms should not be allowed to discriminate on who they hire based on nationality. It would require one more change in government policy to prevent immigration effecting British jobs and that is to come down hard on employers who do not pay minimum wage, an employer who refuses to pay minimum wage must face heavy fines and potentially prison. An employer who won’t pay minimum wage is bad for two reasons, in a social sense most British people can’t afford to work for less than minimum wage and just because an immigrant is willing to work for less does not mean they should have to. Paying migrant workers less than minimum wage is also bad economically as it means that migrants won’t pay income tax, (as they won’t earn enough) they also won’t spend as much as they don’t have as much to spend, and it may also mean they may end up claiming some sort of benefit which in turn means the British economy is not benefiting as much as it should be from immigration. These two changes I believe will make immigration a lot less harmful to British jobs as both natives and migrants will be on a level playing field and also it will abolish employment habits which are damaging to the economy.
As an island Britain must sort out it’s immigration problems so that it can reap the benefits of a properly managed immigration system, there are obviously other problem with immigration which I have not mentioned here like the strain on the NHS and the claiming of benefits. Overall, I believe that immigration is a real bonus to any economy, and Britain should be happy that it can attract workers from other countries. Although the system does have its problems and it does affect some people negatively in terms of jobs and there are questions over the strain on public services, immigrants helped build this country and they will continue to be necessary to help Britain to compete in an increasingly global economy.