There have been a number of contentious issues with UK Immigration in the past, which has led to a good deal of misinformation being spread about it. It is a result of a complete lack of decent information from our politicians and biased coverage from the media on the subject.
Fortunately for us now, this is all changing as Britain debates Europe and the future of our country.
This article aims to discuss three myths from both sides of the debate that have been put forward over immigration. It will hopefully enable you to make a sound judgment on the subject before polling day.
1. Migrants Eat up Public Services and Social Housing
Many politicians across the spectrum have called for limits on EU immigration because the British public cannot cope with it.
Britain indeed lacks the infrastructure to accommodate such numbers in certain areas, but these same people have misconstrued this as meaning that migrants are the reason why.
It is not the case. The real problem is that successive UK governments have completely neglected basic infrastructure in many areas of the UK for over 30 years. It has naturally made these places attractive to immigrants willing to do menial work less beautiful to British people under the minimum wage. We cannot blame the immigrants when the local councils lack housing for their own people and when our government sells social housing units to private landlords.
Additionally, do we want to reduce immigration to reduce competition for limited resources? This is because there are still 7 out of 10 working-age adults in Britain without a job. What reason is there for migrants to go home, and how much better off would we be if they stayed? Ask a team of immigration solicitors, they will tell you how hard it is for an immigrant to enter the country.
The reality is that the neoliberal economic practices of successive UK governments have led to the lack of infrastructure and social problems within specific areas. As such, this debate must not be turned into an immigration one as this will only be divisive and lead to increased racism.
Politicians who want to reduce immigration should be asked why they do not care about the British people’s social problems, which are rooted in poverty that has been perpetuated over many years through poor policy decisions, rather than focusing on immigrants themselves.
2. Eastern European Migrants are Taking Our Jobs
Large numbers of workers from Eastern European countries have indeed joined the workforce in Britain over the past ten years. However, some politicians across the political spectrum have claimed this has led to British people losing their jobs or receiving lower wages due to increased competition. This, again, is untrue.
Eastern Europeans are often willing to do low-paid jobs that British people are not for many reasons. For example, some have come from countries where low wages and poor conditions are the norms. Thus, they expect no better here in Britain.
Additionally, many Eastern European migrants do not speak English as their first language, making it extremely difficult to get skilled employment with decent pay. Also, many are too young to work, or they need hire to support their families.
It sums up they are eager to do the jobs that many British citizens don’t want to do. These jobs would be considered unskilled and low-paid even if a British person did them. It is not because of immigrants but because there are not enough capable labors to go around due to government policy.
I would suggest that this is actually a decent thing, as someone from an Eastern European country with low wages and poor working conditions will likely bring money into the economy, pay tax across their working life, and improve social relations between Britain and its neighbours.
3. Immigrants Come to Claim Benefits
This myth has been perpetuated in the media for many years, regardless of which party is in power. Although, it can be statistically proven that immigrants are less likely to claim benefits than British citizens because they work more and their qualifications do not transfer over here.
During times of recession and increased unemployment, British people are often the first to lose their jobs, not Eastern European immigrants. Furthermore, they are unlikely to claim benefits because their qualifications will not be recognized if they return home. Thus, it would be pointless for them even to try looking for work here in Britain.
Again, this phenomenon is not immigration but the neoliberal economic policy that fails to provide enough jobs and opportunities for people.
When it comes to immigration, there are many misconceptions. We hope this article has helped dispel some of the myths and encouraged you to form a more informed opinion about your situation. If you have any questions or would like help understanding how UK Immigration can affect your life, please get in touch with us for a consultation today!