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Immigration Stimulates the Economy

 20th November 2014: 

ACD’s Chief Executive Brenda King was featured in the 19th November edition of Austrian daily KURIER highlighting the significant role migrant entrepreneurs play in stimulating European economies.

Speaking at the 7th Annual Diversity Media Week, Migration & Cities and Ethnic Economies conference on 16th October 2014, Ms King said,

“EU member states should recognise and promote entrepreneurial efforts of migrants as part of their integration strategy and ease the procedural and legal framework for them to start new businesses.”

In the UK, France, Belgium, Denmark, and Sweden, migrants comprise of a higher proportion of entrepreneurs compared to the native population. In the UK, migrant entrepreneurs contribute on average £25 billion to the economy every year.

The 2014 Diversity Media Week conference focused on the six core areas of diversity (age, gender, people with disability, sexual orientation, ethnic affiliation, belief) in the Austrian and European media institutions.

The two days conference also discussed topics such as diversity in the media, training of journalists and the EU’s role in the promotion of media diversity and inclusion, media and business.

For the full article please see Immigration Stimulates the Economy

By: Jonathan Patterson

London, 21st July 2014 

On the 15th and 16th July BBC One broadcast a two-part programme titled Nick and Margaret: Too Many Immigrants?’. As can be suggested from the title, the programme was based around the issue of immigration in Britain.  It aimed to explore whether the ongoing mass immigration in Britain really is such a major problem in the country.  As a way of identifying whether an issue existed they paired up a group of British-born people, who were sceptical of or against immigration, with individual immigrants who had come from all around the world.  After spending a week with each other, the British had to decide whether immigration was indeed a “gain” or a “drain” on Britain. Some of the main issues that were covered included inequality

  • in employment,
  • inequality in housing opportunities,
  • segregation and isolation in the community,
  • inability to embrace British values, language barriers, and
  • exploitation of benefits and the National Health Service.

This ongoing stance of anti-immigration, and the belief that immigration is more negative than it is positive, is largely due to the media’s portrayal and negative focus on immigration.  For years the media has created an impression that when things appear to be wrong in society (high unemployment, declining British values etc.), it is usually immigration that is at the root of the problem.  Initially, it was quite clear that the British people who had feelings that were against immigration were likely to have been influenced and inspired by the media. Consequently, they had very little personal knowledge of immigration themselves, shown by their lack of interaction with immigrants.

The programme actually showed that after spending time with their partnered immigrants and observing them in their homes, communities and workplaces that their perceptions and viewpoints on immigration had actually changed from how they felt before meeting them.  This was shown by all of them deciding that the immigrants that they were partnered up with were more of a “gain” to British society and the economy than a “drain”.

 “If immigration had not taken place in Britain the way that it has it would be difficult to really imagine what the country would be like today. ”

When it comes to immigration in Britain it is always important to remember the impacts that the British Empire once had on the rest of the world.  Moreover, current immigration is actually an indirect impact of the influence of the British Empire.  At the peak of Empire, the British went around the world and planted many influences which impacted language, religion, culture, ideology, values and education in addition to a giant list of many other factors that still shape how the world is today.  Furthermore, this was also done whilst the British exploited resources and changed the nature of hundreds of people, communities and civilisations around the world.  This isn’t a history lesson, but it is always important to remember these issues when bringing up immigration within Britain.

Participant's in BBC's Too Many Immigrants? programme

Participant’s in BBC’s Too Many Immigrants? programme

From a more personal experience, my grandparents arrived in Britain from Jamaica in the mid-1950s whilst Jamaica was still part of the British Empire.  My grandparents saw Britain as the mother country as well as a land of hope and opportunity.  I believe that even then – and since – they have been a significant “gain” to British society:  They settled in and integrated with their local community well, and worked for the entirety of their working lives in the country.  Furthermore, by starting a family and having children and grandchildren, they have continued their legacy and continued to indirectly contribute towards Britain.

There are many perspectives around immigration and many viewpoints on either side of the fence that are for and against it.  Although, it may partially be related to the cause of some problems in the country, I believe it is wrong to put blame on immigrants as a major cause of ongoing issues that the country faces.  Moreover, the positives can be seen to outweigh many of the negatives associated with it.  Since, and even before, my grandparents both arrived to the country; immigration has brought so many great things ranging from a wide variety of cultures, economic advancement, the rebuilding of Britain and simply a wider understanding and tolerance of different people. Also, how could we ignore all the great food! If immigration had not taken place in Britain the way that it has it would be difficult to really imagine what the country would be like today.  As a result, I am a strong believer in the idea that immigration is generally something that leads to greater “gain”.

By Victoria Agyeman 

Recently an alteration of Justin Bieber’s highly popular music video  ‘One Less Lonely Girl‘ surfaced – the updated version was titled ‘One Less Lonely n*****. As expected, the video caused much controversy; however, many prominent celebrities were quick to defend Bieber as being ‘young’ and ‘naive’, thus making his actions excusable.

Naturally young black individuals like myself  weren’t too convinced by such whimsical claims.  I fail to grasp how such a blatant slur is deemed as trivial. Could it be that we have progressed so much that racism, and the many words traditionally associated with racism, is no longer considered an offence in our society? Or rather, have we become more careless in the way that we deal with the sensitive topic of race? It is my opinion racialism through language should not be excusable from celebrities nor from our politicians. Consequently, Nigel Farage‘s, the leader of the UK Independence Party (Ukip),  recent profiling of Romanians as potentially dangerous was saddening.

In an interview with ITV in May 2014, Farage arrogantly stated that having a Romania as a neighbour would make him uncomfortable.

First, I feel no individual should be so narrow-minded. What’s more, Farage is the leader of a national political party and is seen as a figure head by many across Britain. He could have been more subtle about his prejudices.

Second, social division and conflict is fuelled by such misinformed stereotypes, which makes society a harder place for us all to live in. Despite the dire repercussions of Farage’s skewed views, he has shown no remorse and has been very upfront about his desire to create or maintain a “quintessential British society” – quite frankly what that means remains unclear to many Britons like myself.

So far, what I have stated may be seemingly unconnected to me, a young black British girl from south London.

Why do I care so much?

Well, I am young,  I am female and I am British- essentially I represent a part of Britain’s future. If that future is to be bright and optimistic, divisive tactics ushered by people like Farage must be tackled. I worry for what Britain could be transformed into if a party like Ukip gains power in the House of Commons. Already they are gaining much support and contributing to an increasing xenophobic society, many young people like myself fear what this could mean too. We worry that injustices and prejudices are being posed as truth/fact. The exaggeration surrounding the question of immigrants and their negative impact on British society is concerning. Ukip suggests to us that immigrants are canker worms who leech of our society and ‘contaminate’ its purity. As a 17-year-old descendant of immigrants, I find the misrepresentation saddening.

  • Immigrants have been a crucial part of this country’s success; they contribute immensely to society.
  • Financially, they inject wealth into our economy.
  • Socially, they add to the vibrancy of British society.
  • Frankly, Britain is and has always been a place for diverse nations. We are a country of immigrants from the Vikings to the Anglo Saxons – Even our Royal family has German ancestry!

I say enough of the negative rhetoric about immigrants! Being British is about acceptance and the willingness to accept responsibility and contribute to the advancement of our great nation.

In light of Martin Luther King’s words, I Victoria have a dream to live in a country where people from all backgrounds are valued, where all our views are taken into consideration. I look forward to a Britain where all future leaders like me are given a say, without reference to the colour of their skin.