Immigration bugbear in Great Britain

Photo: tportal.hr

Photo: tportal.hr

Following the real panic that’s been spreading across Great Britain regarding the reportedly anticipated rush, at the end of this year, of unemployed Romanians and Bulgarians into Britain and the momentum stretching across Croatia that sees a seemingly increasing number of young people searching for jobs abroad, tportal.hr has published an interview with British journalist, Brian Gallagher, editor of Croatia Business Report portal.

While very high unemployment figures (getting perilously close 22%) in Croatia certainly present themselves with urges to “look for greener pastures” for jobs elsewhere, this interview will hopefully reach many and turn the politics of job creation in Croatia inwards and slow their channeling outwards (palming the problem off across the borders). Indeed the same could be said for all European Union countries where the unemployment levels are creating a real, present and immediate endangerment of the future in which one of the basic human rights – the right to work – will cease to exist for all adults unless countries, including Croatia take a hard look at themselves and make job creation an absolute priority.
INTERVIEW By: Marita Arslani, tportal.hr news portal
(Translated into English by: Ina Vukic)

Immigrants from East Europe during the eighties and the nineties were often well accepted in Western countries. Most were educated, with good work habits, and their goal was, after arriving in the West, to try and create some better and more decent life for themselves and their families. The West accepted them with both hands as, besides being people who did the jobs for which the Western countries had difficulties in finding people who would do those jobs, they were, at the same time, a cheap workforce. It looked as though all were winners. Immigrants often were not able to choose and, so, they agreed to all sorts of conditions, but they did, nevertheless, somewhat achieve their dream, even if that was just fleeing from some Communist country. Western employers got cheap and good workers, families could get a nanny for 350 Kuna per week or a cleaner for some hundred Kunas and everything appeared ideal.

But, in the meantime, the situation has changed. The crisis has spread, there are less and less jobs and money, and in parallel, with the lack of money the hysteria around migrants who are “taking the bread” off the people in European Union countries grows. Such panic is these days visible in Great Britain and somewhat in Germany, where the reportedly anticipation of a rush of Romanians and Bulgarians is expected at the end of this year, as that is when the limitation placed upon how many immigrants from there can come to work in Great Britain ends.

Briefly, from 2014, anyone from Romania and Bulgaria can come and work in Great Britain. This was an adequate reason for the media there to commence an avalanche of discussions about the issue and, as one would expect, they are exaggerating, of course. It’s not, of course, a secret that Great Britain is attractive for immigration, but the campaign with which the British are sending messages to the Romanians and Bulgarians to stay at home, because they will not like Britain, has turned into an absurdity. And while the main media outlets threaten the British with the immigration bugbear, due to which the local population will only have damage on their hands, the voice of rational analysts and of those who know the British circumstances can hardly be heard. Brian Gallagher, the editor of Croatia Business Report, says that the British fear is partly justified.

Gallagher emphasises how, in 2004, when Great Britain opened its door for the first time to new members of the European Union, it was envisaged that about 13 thousand people per year come to the Island. However, in eight years, that figure has grown to an unbelievable 600 thousand, and so the fear from a large number of immigrants is, in part, understandable. But, when there’s talk about domestic population losing their jobs because of them, Gallagher claims differently.

Such claims, i.e. that immigrants from Eastern Europe are taking jobs from the British, are large exaggerations. It’s likely that such things exist in some jobs, but most people from Eastern Europe work in service provision activities. I rarely hear the British accent from waiters in coffee shops. People from Eastern Europe perform that job brilliantly, pay is not bad, and they put a great deal of effort into their job and it’s not unusual for them to advance in it. That’s because they work well. The seven-year restriction, which is valid to the end of this year for Romania and Bulgaria, is most likely awaiting Croatia, too. Although, given the referendum about the EU that’s being announced here, who knows what will happen by then”, says Brian Gallagher.

The discontent of the British about the large number of immigrants stems from the fact that they have a large number of young people who are unemployed. It’s hard to attribute this trend to immigration, though.

Business people here often complain that our young people are not educated well and that they cannot be employed. However, some rather choose social welfare over work. Some think they’ll become pop-stars or football players, and that’s why immigrants are more desirable as workers. Employers value their work ethics much more. Youth unemployment is a large problem in Great Britain, but the reason for it are not the immigrants”, said Gallagher, convincingly.

Immigration problem is obviously more of a political than an economic problem, and the proposal to allow unlimited entry only to the highly educated immigrants has suffered big criticisms as morally questionable.

Those who support mass immigration mainly come from the middle liberal class. They like foreign restaurants, cheap nannies and cleaners, and are known for their avoidance of living in areas largely settled by immigrants. That is so hypocritical and many people are annoyed by it”, says Gallagher.

Given that searching for a job abroad has lately gathered momentum in Croatia it’s to be expected that London will become one of the destinations where, those that can, those looking for jobs, will go to. But there is no doubt, in order to go to the Island and obtain a job there is much more to go through than simply purchasing airfare. Those who travel often to Great Britain always hear two questions at the border: “How long are you staying? Surely you leave in ten days?” Hence, the fear of foreigners who will anchor themselves in Great Britain starts even before you get to see the Piccadilly Circus.

As far as Croatia is concerned, the texts about immigration to Britain I publish are widely read, and I conclude from that that Croats are very interested in coming here. However, I do not think that Croats will rush to here. The London’s Croatian community is very small, one of the smallest and Croats who work here are largely highly educated and have a good reputation. I think that Germany is much more attractive to Croats because there is a larger and better-networked Croatian community there”, Gallagher emphasises and recommends that, once we enter the EU, we do not repeat the same mistake as the majority of European countries.

Brian Gallagher - London

Brian Gallagher – London

You should keep a good immigration control and in doing so you will avoid a considerable number of problems. But you need to do that in a way where you invest in the education of your people and pay them well for the work they do. Immigration is a fast solution for business, and it’s no long-term solution”, Gallagher concludes.

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Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Croatia Business Report and commented:
    Thanks to Ina Vukic for translating this

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  2. Thanks for the translation!

    Like

  3. Immigration, particularly from third world countries, depresses wages in the target country. Look at what’s happened in the USA. If you don’t come from Mexico there’s no construction job for you in in California and the Southwest. The same will happen in Britain.

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    • Well James Mason you could be right, particularly in construction – cheap labor imported, but one can’t blame the immigrants for that, they’re just looking to earn a living, any living, we can blame the greedy employers or construction companies who cut corners to make a buck.

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      • TheRealTruth says:

        Harry is right but you’re wrong. We blame government and the people outside of government that pushed to change immigration policies – Jews, Leftists, Marxists, and Progressives.

        Now Croatia is being destroyed by the same people and the same policies.

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      • So aware of this, thanks TheRealTruth

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  4. Robert H says:

    Similar stuff Mr Gallagher talks about is happening in the US. Immigration in recent decades has significantly increased the presence of foreign-born workers in the United States. The impact of these immigrants on the U.S. economy is hotly debated. Some stories in the popular press suggest that immigrants diminish the job opportunities of workers born in the United States. Others portray immigrants as filling essential jobs that are shunned by other workers. Economists who have analyzed local labor markets have mostly failed to find large effects of immigrants on employment and wages of U.S.-born workers (see Borjas 2006; Card 2001, 2007, 2009; and Card and Lewis 2007).
    Giovanni Peri research in the US, 2010: The effects of immigration on the total output and income of the U.S. economy can be studied by comparing output per worker and employment in states that have had large immigrant inflows with data from states that have few new foreign-born workers. Statistical analysis of state-level data shows that immigrants expand the economy’s productive capacity by stimulating investment and promoting specialization. This produces efficiency gains and boosts income per worker. At the same time, evidence is scant that immigrants diminish the employment opportunities of U.S.-born workers.

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  5. Spectator says:

    “it’s crude and wrong to say immigrants come to Britain to take all our jobs.”

    http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/01/10/immigration-has-no-effect-on-unemployment/

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  6. Unemployment is “only” 22% in Croatia. That is a bit deceptive since unemployment is calculated based on the number of people in the labor force looking for jobs.

    I prefer to look at the economy from a more realistic perspective – how many people of working age are employed: In Croatia only about 40% of working age people have a job while in Canada about 62% of working age individuals have a job.

    A clear sign of despair is the Facebook Group “Mladi Napustimo Hrvatsku” (Young, Let’s Leave Croatia) which has 55,000 members. 55,000 members for Croatian social media is a HUGE number. It is a scary number!
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mladi-Napustimo-Hrvatsku/347839398634915

    Croatia can’t and must not suffer any sort of a brain drain if it wants to recover economically – and socially!

    I promote the idea that young people leave Croatia for a few years to get some work experience and earn some money and then come back to Croatia – but what worries me is the following: While the Blue Croats are out in the world getting valuable experience the Red Croats stay at home and start climbing the political ladder. The Reds continue to further entrench themselves in the ruling elite.

    The saddest part of all this is that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Welfare Policy and Youth (a Serb) said that “young people are more mobile and have more opportunities to find some of their prosperity in the European Union, where they will get a new chance at life.” She also said that we do not need to be overly unhappy because of this.

    In other words, the Minister of Social Welfare Policy told the young unemployed people that they no longer have a chance at a normal life and prosperity in Croatia.

    I do not think this is just happening by accident.
    I feel there is a plan behind all this.

    Added: Document from Zeljko in PDF – SITUATION IN CROATIA https://inavukic.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/situation-in-croatia.pdf

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    • Zeljko, the current government in Croatia is useless on this front (and other fronts) – how dare they support a minister in their midst who talks like that. But, I agree with you – it’s no accident. While the heads of the young buzz with illusions of opportunities and dreams that can never be realised for the majority (good job and good life abroad), the government doesn’t need to do anything in trying to create jobs – really, I mean, instead of just talking about it.

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      • Ina, in order to bring about “change”, you need a crisis. The crisis can be real, manufactured or perceived. The Croatian government is for some reason creating a crisis – starving the Croatian people.

        I DO NOT believe that a decade of governments can be that incompetent. If they are not THAT incompetent then this is all planned. The Croats have to be de-Croaticized.

        Culturicide ???

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      • Agree on Croatization Zeljko, but 374,000 unemployed in that small country is a crisis I believe. Cheers

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  7. I’d have Croats in Great Britain any time – they’re miles apart from the rest of Eastern Europe. Educated, cultured, great on art, fabulous food, many speak English, hard workers, have a long history of emigration and have built fantastic communities throughout the world… even within Yugoslavia they were miles ahead of the rest in there

    Like

  8. Master James says:

    Croatia needs to get a hard look at itself and do everything humanly possible to create jobs within Croatia, to have a nice home and future after all the horrible stuff they’ve suffered through wars and oppression.

    Like

  9. Računovodstvo says:

    Having business degrees compounded with my Croatian heritage gives me plenty of good reasons to keep up with the economic news in Croatia and the other countries of the former Yugoslavia. I try to get my business news from a variety of sources, and I see some glimmers of hope mainly related to Croatia’s tourism sector. As much as tourism is a driving force for Croatia, I believe that a country should have a strong manufacturing sector to survive in the long term.

    As for the government of Croatia not taking this brain drain seriously, this is extremely disappointing as the horrible political situation and lack of a person’s ability to make it in life without strong political connections forced my parents, two working professionals, to leave the country. This was over thirty years ago and the brain drain is still going on–strong. So, the point is that I think governments secretly want people to leave as the chance of civil unrest will go down, however, governments also need a successful tax base to keep the nice social programs running and politicians in office with nice cushy jobs. And don’t forget that new taxpayers also need to be born which cannot happen when young people don’t have money to provide for a family let alone subsist on meager salaries.

    On a different note, I have to give credit to the politicians for attempting to forge economic ties with Qatar. I say attempt as the trip to Qatar was not deemed to be a success according to media outlets in Croatia. It also came out that one minister supposedly took out a 3 month visa to stay in Qatar for what exactly is not clear as meetings between officials shouldn’t have lasted for more than two weeks tops. Not very encouraging from a PR perspective as it now looks the politicians just wanted to holiday at the taxpayers’ expense. Well, it would have been better for the politicians to work on getting some much needed investment and then be able to visit Qatar more often to keep ties strong and investors happy. Just an idea for the future.

    Like

    • Not just manufacturing, Racunovodstvo, but food-production as in farming etc.

      Like

      • Računovodstvo says:

        I agree. Croatia does have one big agriculture export they can capitalize on: wine. And the US wine market is huge and always on the lookout for interesting wines from unique places.

        Like

  10. I still have business interests in London having lived there for many years but I also have a good perspective of the view of young educated people here, my two boys for example. They, like 75% of their peers (at least those known to me) all speak excellent English and have good degrees. They all want to try their hand in the UK and who can blame them? There you can find a career based entirely upon your own merits, even make your own business and be fairly certain your skills, ideas and work ethic has a reasonable chance of seeing you through. Here? It’s hopeless. Businesses are hamstrung with endless bureaucracy and taxed to death – I haven’t mentioned the back-handers needed just to get a piece of worthless paper and, in the end, nobody pays. Galling though it is, who can blame these young people?
    I was in England when the Polish “invasion” came, it was good on so many levels. There came real competition for all manner of trades and services, employers (me included) found energetic and educated young people with a great work ethic. At first there were huge cries from trades unions about “cheap labor” but it soon settled into a good balance between supply and demand. London is significantly better off as a result of immigration. Croatia would also gain for the same reasons but there are no opportunities for such people to make a living. Whichever way you look at it, The UK will gain our best young minds and muscles, we will only lose. It’s not the UK’s fault, it’s ours.

    Like

  11. Blaze Doric says:

    Looks,like Croatians are missing Yugoslavia;Under maršal Tito Croatia was prosperous, to day so many people out of work.And workers don’t receive money up to three months. Don’t forget worst is to come,look whats happening in Slovenia

    Like

    • Yes Blaze Doric, some are missing Yugoslavia it seems. The reasons for that are known to only them it seems for certainly it’s not economics – not receiving your wages was quite widespread in 1980’s Yugoslavia or have you forgotten. That’s when that shocking practice started and workers could not complain nor rally against it because they’d get bashed up by the police or the army, they just had to put up with it. And so, the practice continued after 1990’s, had Yugoslavia not tolerated work without pay then such practices would not have spilled into Croatia as something “normal”. The economic disasters of today across the region cannot be compared to the times of former Yugoslavia in the sense that you suggest, i.e. that things were better under Yugoslavia, things were “better”in Italy, in Portugal, in Spain, in Greece etc and Yugoslavia had little to do with that. It is sad for the young generation worldwide (almost) that it seems they will not have a future in working unless something is done.

      Like

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