Picture this; You have made the perilous journey of thousands of miles across several countries, avoiding a war, death and trafficking, only to be turned back by what you thought was a safe haven. Rishi Sunak’s plan for migrants trying to cross the channel is a complete and utter disaster, not to mention violating several human rights. The approach taken by this government since 2016 to international migration has been and still is, to put it as politely as possible, like sticking fingers in their ears, and saying “Not my problem”. In reality, migration is an economic requirement for all economies in the 21st century. Here are some reasons why.
Migrants help solve the demographic issue in many advanced countries. A common trend found in many OECD countries, such as the UK is that the majority of the population is generally coming to the end of their working lives, so 50-60 years old. This ageing crisis cannot be solved by UK nationals. We must turn to migrants, who tend to be younger working age and can fill those gaps.
Migrants help spur an efficient economy. By filling these employment gaps mentioned above, they also fill generally low-skilled vacancies. In the UK in 2021, just under 30% of workers were in low-skilled professions. As the general population tends to become more educated, lower-skilled jobs become more difficult to fill. Furthermore, migrants not only play a role in the economy through employment but also as regular consumers and producers. There’s the old (rather xenophobic) myth that migrants take more than they give. In fact, according to the Migration Observatory, from 2015/16 (£15.5 billion) to 2018/19 (£22.4 billion) the net migration contribution to the tax and benefits system increased by £6.9 billion.
Migrants create vital bilateral links between countries through migrant remittances, a surprisingly little-known concept. Essentially, it is the flow of migrant money earned in one country to their origin. In a TED Talk back in 2014, economist and international migrant Dilip Ratha said that there were “232 million international migrants.” with “some 180 million of them from poor countries sending money home regularly.” This flow of money is socio-economically vital for both rich and poor countries, which rely on these remittances much more.
Destined for failure?
As we are still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, international migration is needed more than ever. The conservative government’s plans to stop immigration are doomed to fail in the long run. Not to mention, it is a human rights violation, under Article 14 of the UNDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) which states “Everybody has the right to seek asylum from persecution in another country, and there is no such thing as an ‘illegal asylum seeker'”.
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