If you’ve read the title of this piece and know who I am you might be thinking, isn’t that a bit biased coming from an immigrant herself? If that thought crossed your mind, you’re most certainly right, but as a matter of fact, research shows that immigration plays a key part in a flourishing society. Beyond the arguments that can – and should – be made for why asylum and immigration from certain places should be considered a basic human right, even people like me who moved to England simply because, well, they fancied it, are a huge benefit to British society. Whether it be the plumber doing labour for dirt cheap wages or the cheeky take away you order next weekend, British society is built on the backs of immigrants.
Besides the obvious cultural enrichment that immigration brings, western societies often exploit the labor of the very people we condemn for ‘stealing our jobs.’ Not only is the neurosurgeon from Syria not about to take a job off a British lad with 3 GCSEs, immigrants are often forced to take up employment way below their pay grade due to desperation and discrimination in the workforce. This means that immigrants are more likely to due the types of jobs Brits themselves don’t want for wages they wouldn’t accept. While this in itself is awful and should be changed through better working conditions for all, it is this type of exploitation that keeps capitalist Britain running. A US economic policy initiative called the Hamilton Project proved this to be true, stating that immigrants and locals tend to go for different jobs, and ultimately ‘many immigrants complement the work of US employees and increase their productivity.’
The Economist proved that migrants contribute way more to Britain than they take, as the average EEA migrant will contribute around £78,000 to the country throughout their life. Yearly, immigrants cough up £2,370 more to the Treasury than native-born Brits. The Independent found that immigration undoubtedly boosts GDP and productivity in the United Kingdom. The Guardian reported that the Institute of Fiscal Studies has shown that immigrants are less likely to receive benefits or social housing than their native counterparts. These are hard facts. Say what you want about migration but the overall positive contribution of immigrants to British society is indisputable.
Migration is a complex issue, and anti-immigration policies are almost always deeply intertwined with racism, but when we get to the core of things, whatever feelings brits may harbour against immigrants, they almost always appreciate the work that immigrants do and consume the services they provide. Immigrants are a massive part of what has made Great Britain great. Think about it: what would your Soton night out be without a cheeky Manzils or the legends of Charcoal Grill serving you up a feast at the end of your night?