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The Day The Immigrants Left

With immigration set to be a key battleground during this election OBV looks back on an enlightening BBC programme ‘The Day the Immigrants Left

What would the UK be like if all immigrants were to leave? The popular refrain from many in the UK is that now tired old chestnut ‘kick out the immigrants and give those jobs to British workers’ The reality is of course much more complex and the simple fact is that most business owners say that they value immigrant labour because of their industrious attitude, willingness to work and they turn up on time and are always willing to work late.

To test the idea that British workers can compete and do just as well as their immigrant labour counterparts. BBC presenter Evan Davies conducted a unique experiment exploring the effects of immigration in the UK by focusing on Wisbech, a town in Cambridgeshire. First broadcast last month the programme challenges British peoples’ assumptions about migrant labour.

Since 2004 Wisbech a small market town has received up to 9,000 migrants seeking work and the vast majority of those arrived from Eastern Europe. In the town just over 2,000 locals are unemployed and claiming benefits. From their perspective the problem is staring them in the face and many of them blame the foreign workers for their predicament.

To test if the town needs so many foreign workers, immigrant employees are temporarily removed from their jobs, and the work given to the local unemployed. Swapping their roles with those of locally employed immigrant labour the town’s British workers were given the chance to prove they can work just as well as their immigrant counterparts.

Of course Britain relies on migrant labour and they make a huge contribution to the national economy. As we enter into the election battle lets ensure that we are informed by the facts and not emotion. The first casualty of any election is usually the truth.

In this documentary the realities of migrant working are brutally revealed as British workers try and do the jobs that are currently taken by migrants. The programme presents a fascinating insight as prejudices and misconceptions are challenged as new insights into the realities of migrant workers are revealed.

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