What Are the Arguments About Immigration in the UK?

Written by libby walkup
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What Are the Arguments About Immigration in the UK?
(scaffolding workers image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com)

Migrations cause many fears and concerns among native populations and this is true in the UK. The arguments against immigration are often impassioned and not all together illogical, but immigration has positive effects on the UK economy as well.

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Wages

In a BBC article, "Analysis: Who gains from immigration?" journalist Steve Schifferes traces the effect immigration into the UK has on wages. Unskilled and uneducated workers from other countries lower the rate of pay for natives in jobs such as child care and cleaning. According to Schifferes' article, this has already happened in the United States, where Mexican immigrants obtain such positions. In an article in The Guardian, however, Adam Roberts states that "The benefits should be obvious: our economies are bigger, stronger and more flexible with migrants than without them."

Government Services

Schifferes also notes that immigrants coming into the UK will affect government expenditures. Most immigrants are of working age and don't need to utilise government services such as health care. However, immigrant families tend to be larger than UK families which could lead to more cost for the country in education. A concern in the UK is the declining family size of British natives and the effect this decline will have on UK pensions. Schifferes states that immigrant workers will keep UK natives in their pensions, although others argue that the number of immigrants finding work in the UK will not be sufficient to sustain pensions.

Economic Growth

Schifferes claims that migrant workers will have a long term positive effect on the economy and cites as an example the migration from Europe to the United States during the 19th century. The fear is that immigrants, some highly-skilled, will take the jobs of natives and unemployment will rise. On the other hand, Roberts states that unemployment has remained low in Sweden, America and Ireland despite a high number of immigrants in those nations.

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