All entries for February 2007

February 26, 2007

Just an Immigrant

India Nest, 10.02.2007

I am a migrant worker. Not illegal, but migrant enough to be vilified. So I contribute only 4p a week to Britain’s wealth – but at least I contribute something! I’m not sitting idle taking benefits like hundreds of thousands of domestic workers do. All political parties are falling over each other to restrict the numbers of people like me in the country. We steal away British jobs, they say.

My neighbor gets chased for rent by his estate agent. His neighbor gets council tax reminders. I know a few others who aren’t paying their utility bills on time. I don’t get paid more than them, but I clear all my dues on the 1st of the month. I’ve seen them break parking laws and live rent-free – I’ve stuck to every law of the land. But I am an immigrant.

My family paid more than £60,000 in the last 5 years to this country’s education system. So I send a few pounds back home (probably to buy British exports) – its still less than what I spend in the country. And what about the wealth I am generating at work for the economy? But I am an immigrant.

The Home Office doesn’t have any of my friends there. I need to be better than all European Union applicants to a job to get a work permit. And I am. Doesn’t that help the British company that hires me? You know why I got the job? Because Britain’s education system doesn’t churn out enough employable graduates. Record number of jobs are being advertised in the country, and yet they have to employ us foreigners. I guess the hours I spent studying while my classmates were busy binge drinking and ‘socialising’ are now proving to be of some worth, eh? But I am an immigrant.

So wake up Britain and listen to your Prime Minister and PM-to be. Messrs Blair and Brown have a point- get off your couch and get a degree or some training, or risk being unemployed forever. Your companies will not wait for you to be employable – they have sales targets to meet. Vilifying migrant workers will not get you anywhere. The system favors the ‘natives’ anyway. Make use of it!

But what do I know? I’m just an immigrant.


February 15, 2007

The State of Britain

The Economist, 02.02.07

There are three important issues surrounding the globalisation discourse in Britain that have escaped your attention in your lead article “You’ve never had it so good”. First, it is all very fashionable to suggest ethnic minorities to accept equal treatment in front of the law, but what is often left unquestioned is the extent to which the law is neutral itself. A debate over whether a Sikh man should be allowed to drive a motorbike without a helmet is far from settled. Second, the ground reality is that sections of the so-called ethnic majority demand assimilation and not integration, something which is often unacceptable to the minorities. Third, the political parties may well be falling over each other in their efforts to reduce the number of foreign workers in the country, but it must be realised that Britain’s graduates are poorly equipped to deal with the demands of a globalised economy. As a former foreign student in England, I can testify to the fact that British students in general are far less interested in their studies than a Chinese or an Indian student.


February 2007

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