The world seems to have darkened of late in relation to the way leading countries are talking about migration. Donald Trump is trying his hardest to stir up an anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican stance overseas. And yet in our own country, the Home Secretary has stated the intention to force companies to publish lists of foreign workers as if they need to watched carefully.
When did the word “foreign” become so dirty (again)? Why should an employer be any more accountable for a “foreign” worker than anyone else? By all means, it is important that migrant workers on a non-permanent visa have the correct paperwork. Continue to check that people are eligible to live and work in the UK at the point of application, but what is the need to go any further?
A Backwards Step
However, the Home secretary’s speech seems to adding fire to the xenophobic notion than “foreign” workers are “taking all the jobs” from British people. After spending so many years trying to encourage companies to employ people from a more ethnically diverse and representative background this seems like a huge step backwards.
The NHS is held together by foreign workers; a huge chunk of our economy is built on the back of foreign investment; every weekend £Millions of pounds of private and public money is spent by the FA Premiere league alone, running and policing football matches which often have substantial number of players who are “foreign workers.” Given the fact that foreign workers – especially those from outside the EU – have to satisfy so many criteria, and have no access to public funds, the burden on the state is clearly not them.
Home-grown .v. Foreign
We have our own, “home grown” group of jobless layabouts who make little or no attempt to find work or keep it. Why should we expect an employer to suffer one of them when you have many skilled, hard-working people from other countries?
Moreover, Rudd’s plans to make it “tougher” for non-EU workers and students to obtain visas show her own ignorance of how tough and astonishingly expensive it is to get a visa anyway. Add to that the sheer uncertainty of what effect Brexit will have on the movement of EU nationals.
This is where, as a writer, I would like to leap into a satirical quip about this latest Tory outburst as sounding a little too “Third Reich.” But I can’t. I am genuinely worried about not just how this policy promise sounds, but how dangerously close we are to that attitude. What is next: a meeting to properly define “foreign,” depending on how many years someone has been in the country? Are we going to only define “foreign” as persons who were not born in the UK? What about those born in the UK to parents who were on a visa at the time of their birth…?
Ignorance, Bigotry and Xenophobia
It’s not difficult to get wrapped up in that hot debate is it? The exact same debate was set by Hitler to his generals, instructed to design the “final solution.”
Brexit won’t happen until two years after Article 50 is fully enacted, so there isn’t a huge worry for EU migrants yet. However, many EU workers and migrants with young children just starting school might disagree with me on that. But when it comes to no-EU migrants, the danger is very immediate.
Regardless of the intention, this latest announcement has played right into the hands of ignorance, bigotry and xenophobia. When we honour those in our past who have fought and died in wars to avoid the repetition of the consequences of hatred, we should think more carefully when we say: “lest we forget.”
Do Angela Rudd and Theresa May plan on asking for migrant workers to be labelled and listed as part of their ‘final solution’ to the immigration ‘issue’?
With such a government at the helm, are we no better than the Third Reich?
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