Brendan Montague charts the economic and cultural contributions made by migrants in the uk The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) is launching the “I♥Migrants” campaign to bring together those who understand the huge benefits to the UK which come from people choosing to live and work in this country.
Immigration has already proven to be a hotly contested issue as the election approaches with Labour and Conservatives each telling voters they are making Britain’s borders even tougher. The debate is influenced by the idea the BNP can win votes by attacking migration.
However, Britain has benefited both economically and culturally from the fact people have been allowed to move here to live and work and millions of people recognise and celebrate the contribution migrants have made over generations.
The campaign’s publicity materials will point people to the website iheartmigrants.org which contains 10 key undisputed facts proving immigration has been a huge boon for Britain.
Habib Rahman, chief executive of JCWI, said: “The facts all show that migration is essential to the British economy while the cultural benefits are there for all to see – from our favourite foods to high art.
“We hope that voters and politicians will rely on facts rather than being distracted by scapegoating and fear-mongering during this election. After all, no government could deliver on providing services like schools, universities and hospitals without migrant labour.”
The campaign will be relying on the Royal Geographic Society’s “simple guide” to the “immigration controversy” which examines the facts behind many of the claims about people coming to the UK to live and work.
The guide shows that the UK has a lower proportion of migrants at 9.7 percent than many similar countries, including Australia which has 23.8 percent, Canada at 19.1 percent and even Germany which has 13.1 percent.
Moreover, rather than being a burden on public services and jobs, migrants actually subsidise the UK-born population. Indeed, employment for the UK-born population has been stable at 75 percent over the last decade despite increased migration.
At the same time, 17 percent of economic growth between 2004 and 2005 was as a result of migration – which means job creation – according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
The Home Office has found that migrants paid £2.5 billion in tax in the year to 2000 resulting in a 10 percent net contribution to the public purse above what they had received in benefits. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has estimated that total revenue from migrants reached £41.2 billion in 2003-04.
Students arriving through the Points Based System contribute £3.4 billion to universities through fees and costs and generate a further £1billion in GDP by working alongside their studies.
It is also acknowledged that the public sector could not function without migration: a third of doctors and dentists qualified abroad, according to Migration Watch. Almost half (47 percent) of nurses in London are migrants.