In yesterday’s blog I looked this attitude of “immigrants are not welcome here” . I would like to explore the second point raised in yesterday’s blog
if the unfairness that exists in the world such as better trade agreements were resolved there would be no need for people to come to the UK as economic immigrants.
I must admit that this sounds like a topic for a thesis and one that I cannot give full justice to within the scope of this blog without extensive research.
Reasons why people emigrate are wide ranging but the want to provide for family through access to work appears to meet a great deal of disapproval and the technical term for such a person is “economic migrant”.
When we look at the means by which some of the would be economic immigrants get to Europe you would have to agree with the caller to the caller to the Any Answer’s programme on BBC Radio 4, that the only reason why people become economic migrants is because of the unfair trade agreements etc that exist
Why else would folk embark on what are potentially fatal journeys to Europe.
If you take the Africans that end up on the Spanish and Italian beaches, by the time they get there, chances are that they have walked the entire Sahara Desert before getting onto unsafe boats, that carry them across the Mediterranean sea. Whilst the Chinese and others from Asian countries have been known to hide under lorries or the freezer cabinets of food transit lorries.
Are the rewards that great for people to be willing to risk their lives?
As an immigrant from Uganda I have taken advantage of the education system here in the UK amongst other things and because of that I have had much better life than I would have had in Uganda. Would I have risked my life in a similar way, absolutely not!
I also have to ask myself a tough question here, Would I have needed to risk my life that way? Again the answer is no, The reason, I would have had access to a job eventually had I returned to Uganda following my studies in Austria. A Post graduate diploma from a European institution would have opened doors in addition to my family network.
This has led me to ask myself another question. Are the folk that risk their lives in that way lacking in education or family networks that can help them access employment/business opportunities in their home countries? I truly do not know but I understand that in most cases families sell everything they have so that a family member and usually a man can try their luck in Europe, America or anywhere that is perceived to offer better prospects.
What then is the role of unfair trade agreements in the matter of economic migration? The answer to this question would be more interesting if it was based in fact i.e. based on field research. I will certainly revisit it in the next few days or so.
Without such research, my view is that because Africa in particular is often treated as a place to “fetch” raw materials from, job creation and skills transfer is limited.
Imagine this if you will, if De beers or Rio Tinto mined diamonds and processed them into ready to sell accessories at the point of origin and all those involved in this process were local people, who had been trained up in the diamond craftsmanship. Would people from that community seek to leave or undertake risky journeys to become economic migrants? I sincerely don’t think so all other things being equal such as the political stability of the country.
Instead those that fetch the raw materials come with their own skilled personnel and the locals often have to settle for the menial tasks . What I don’t understand is why governments allow this to happen when they could impose conditions that required these companies to limit the personnel they bring in but also the removing of raw materials so that value can be added elsewhere, a naive view perhaps but certainly one that offer a solution to economic migrants
To be continued….
But if you have view on the issues raised so far do share them