Saturday, December 22, 2007

Are foreigners taking away British jobs?

The Labour government is beginning to sound more and more like the Conservatives.

Previously they claimed that 54% of the total 2.1 million jobs created in the last 10 years since 1997, had gone to foreigners. However, there was a lot of commotion when the Statistics Commission revealed that results of a study that showed that in fact, the proportion of new jobs going to foreigners was as high as 81% out of a lower estimated total jobs created (1.7 million).

Now they are thinking of putting up a number of restrictions on immigrants entering the UK including limiting the number of months you can stay on in the UK on a tourist visa from 6 to 3 months. They are also planning to charge a flat levy on "non-domiciled'' residents.

The trouble is that when you say "foreigners", most locals automatically assume this to mean Africans and Asians.

I am not implying that the results of the study is wrong but I won't be surprised if majority of the "foreigners" were actually from EU countries and the East European countries in particular. A solution would be withdrawing from the EU and that is one possibility that is definitely not going to happen.

Another thing that is not clarified are the nature of the jobs created. One of my friends mentioned that the jobs that were taken over by foreigners were probably the menial and hard labour jobs like cleaners and jobs at odd hours, that locals are hesitant to take up. For professional positions, I know that for a foreigner to get a job here in the UK you would either have to be extremely highly qualified or work in a foreign owned company including the MNCs, which usually have a fair employment policy based on merit.

Of course the locals are concerned with the news and this in turn may have led to a negative perception towards foreigners.

One of our friends who's doing a PhD in Birmingham was recalling an incident where a colleague joked about "foreigners like you are taking my jobs".

"It's the opposite. I am actually subsidising your studies here", my friend retorted, which is kind of true in a way as British and EU students pay only about one third of what we foreign students pay for our studies.

Talking about employment, it not all that bad here in the UK as compared to some other countries around the World. In fact the total unemployment has fallen to 1.64 million, the lowest since 1975 (32 years).


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VIJAY said...

Its, we the Indians have taken over the foreign jobs. Mostly because of economy and other reasons. Now Chinese and Japanese are catching up with us


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