Is immigration a problem? Ah well… it could be argued both sides. The political economy of migration is a tricky one. However my view is that migrants can represent a problem for low-skilled native citizens who can see their jobs ‘stolen’ by happy-with-low-wages migrants. But these migrants contribute to the economy of the host country. They buy clothes, they pay taxes, they send their children to school… They do inject money in the economy of the host country. High skilled native citizens tend to be more tolerant towards imigrants, because they have nothing to fear. They have the security of a job, they have skills and they have a ‘voice’.
This being said, a friend of mine gave me a CD the other day on which he had recorded a BBC show called “The Day the Immigrants Left”. It was basically the story of some low-skilled Brits who were coplaining that the only reason why they were unemployed was because “these Eastern Europeans steal our jobs”. The journalist convinced some English employees to let some Brits to work for a couple of days. What happened? Some of the unemployed Brits did not show up at the meeting point, others just gave up because the job it was too dull and difficult.
What is the lesson? Some of the migrants who work in West do those jobs that a native would not do because it is to dull, tideous and difficult…
What’s next? I don’t know. But I hope that (free) movement of persons will trigger tolerance. Acceptance of those immigrants who do not have a choice in their home countries and they only want to work hard in order to afford a decent life. That’s all they ask… a DECENT life, not even a GOOD life.