Are there Enough Immigrants in the UK?

By: Monika Jablecka | Posted: 18th December 2009

Given the situation at the time of writing, asking whether the UK has enough immigrants would possibly be seen as a stupid question by most, but the question refers to the genuine, not illegal immigrants. In truth, genuine immigrants to the UK get very little attention, consequently, people don't often get the opportunity to see the positive side of immigration and how it contributes richly to the country as a whole. Immigration is a good thing for any country that welcomes cultural diversity as well as the professional skills and talents that many immigrants bring with them, but where is the line drawn with regards to numbers?

The Polish are Here!
In 2004, Poland became a member of the EU, and almost immediately a large contingent of Polish workers arrived in the UK hoping to find well paid employment that would allow them to send much-needed money back to their families. A few years on, and many of them have achieved what they set out to do.

Almost immediately after their arrival, many successfully managed to obtain employment only for some of the population to complain that they were taking jobs away from British workers. The question that must be asked then is why so many of those vacancies weren't filled by British workers in the first place? Possibly the most likely answer is that many of those jobs were menial or low-paid positions that no-one was interested in or wanted to do but didn't seem to want foreign workers doing so either. Considering the UK level of unemployment, there shouldn't really have been any jobs available for Polish workers to take on anyway.

Eventually, some returned home to Poland when the employment market there started to grow, but many still remain and have made the UK their permanent home. The Polish story is not one of true immigration as such, but more a case of a means to an end as the majority always intended to return home at some point.

Getting the Balance Right
Immigrant numbers is not just about having enough people to fill jobs though. It's about tolerance and respect for cultures other than our own; it's about understanding that immigrants are here to start new lives away from whatever hardships or dangers they've managed to escape in their own countries, and it's about extending a helping hand to those who aren't as fortunate as most.

Getting the balance right is obviously easier said than done, and given the number of illegal immigrants currently in the UK, the task is made even harder still. It's very important that the subject concerning illegal immigrants is mentioned because rightly or wrongly, it plays a major part in how the UK population see immigrants and immigration as a whole. It is a bit like judging a book by its cover which unfortunately is a typical human failing often leading to incorrect assumptions and conclusions.

Exact figures of immigrants currently living in the UK tend to be a bit vague, but it's estimated that by 2010, there will be around 1.2 million immigrants from Europe alone, a figure which will significantly increase as other nationalities arrive.

From a purely practical point of view therefore, it would make good sense to strictly limit the entry of immigrants until a clearer picture emerges of how many are already here and whether or not the country can sustain any more.

Realistically, that's very unlikely to happen in the near future, and the longer it takes the Government to establish and enforce stricter immigration rules and measures, the issue of numbers is set to become a whole lot worse.

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Tags: money, truth, population, jobs, talents, cultural diversity, vacancies, unemployment, professional skills, contingent, illegal immigrants, means to an end, employment market, poland, immigration