All entries for Monday 26 February 2007

February 26, 2007

Just an Immigrant

Just an Immigrant
by Aruni Mukherjee

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.


Time in Kenya

February 2007

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