ANOTHER MONTH, YET ANOTHER ATTACK ON IMMIGRANTS
By Marcia Hutchinson, MBE.
Thursday, December 1, 2011.
Migration figures have hit the headlines again. This time the media is commenting in increasingly hysterical tones about the fact that net migration has reached a record high.
What many news outlets don't mention is the fact that the number of people coming into the country has remained relatively stable. The increase in net migration is because fewer people are leaving the country. Australia, it seems isn't the nirvana it was cut out to be and many Brits who emigrated are coming back to the UK.
Migration is seen as a 'bad thing'. "They come over here they take our jobs, etc". A documentary a few years ago exposed the lie in this statement when some unemployed English people were offered jobs that migrants were doing. Most barely lasted a week, they found the work too hard.
The fact that many migrants arrive (like my mother) already educated at another country's expense and ready to work and contribute to the economy is often ignored. Many, like my father, spent most of their working lives here and then died before retirement age so they did not get the benefits they worked for.
The fact that large chunks of the hospitality industry and the NHS would cease to function overnight if migrants left is also ignored. In a country like the UK, with a rapidly ageing population, there will soon not be enough tax payers contributing to the nation's coffers to pay for the pensions of the retired. Migrants are one of the few groups who can plug this gap, not only taking jobs caring for the elderly but also paying taxes to help pay the pensions of tomorrow's pensioners.
Going and Coming one of Primary Colours' project celebrates the stories of migrants to Yorkshire. Perhaps it's time we stopped focusing on 'them' and looked at 'us'. Maybe our social problems are primarily of our own making and migrants, rather than being part of the problem, could be one of the few solutions.
Marcia Hutchinson is the Managing Director of Primary Colours whose mission is to create a better world for our children by helping them to understand and appreciate cultural diversity.