On January 1st, a seven-year period of conditions for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens established by the UK in 2007 ended. This means that the citizens of these countries will now be allowed to live and work freely in the UK. This also means that after several years of holding EU citizenship, they will finally be able to fulfill their rights as EU citizens in all country-members of the Union.
For some Romanian and Bulgarian citizens, the news provides hope for a better future that the UK is able to provide. At the same time the new Immigration laws will lead to positive consequences for the British economy and British society. It is undoubtedly an affirmative phenomenon that can be praised on many different aspects.
First of all, immigrants constitute one of the major factors of the UK’s prosperity. According to findings provided by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, recruitment of skilled foreign citizens is one of the factors of companies’ higher efficiency and expansion. As the research figures demonstrate, the average foreign worker is better educated and produces more working hours than his or her British counterpart. The higher share of migrant workers particularly correlates with higher labour productivity in such areas key to the British economy as manufacturing and real estate.
Additional research provided by the University College London shows the contribution to the economy that immigrants provide in the form of taxes is estimated to be £8.8 billion higher than the costs from their public services consumption. UCL’s findings suggest that those immigrants that came to the UK between 2001 and 2011 have provided substantial net contributions equal to £22.1bn to UK public finances.
Furthermore, immigrants help the UK solve one of its major demographic issues. High life expectancy of the elderly leads to an inevitable effect on the economy. Due to this, budget spending on state pensions, social care and healthcare is expected to rise to nearly a fifth of the GDP. Immigration will allow for increases in the overall number of people in work and, thus, will improve public finances.
Apart from economic and demographic consequences for the UK, immigration can bring effective changes to British society and British political sectors. Firstly, the embracement of two more nationalities is a great testament to the British commitment to the policy of multiculturalism that the country has admirably adopted. It will strengthen the UK’s image as one of the most immigrant-tolerant societies in the world and one of the most exemplary multicultural centres. Acceptance of new cultures, new traditions and new nations on equal terms will signify the civilized nature of British society that tries to address the notions of “us” and “others” in this era of globalized realities.
In addition to preserving the UK’s commitment to the ideas of multiculturalism, facilitation of borders contributes positively to the EU integration in whole. With free movement of citizens as one of the cornerstones of the European Union, these rules represent a big step toward the fulfillment of this major EU principle.
Despite relatively lower popularity of pro-immigration arguments among media, they are absolutely valid and, if voiced, can undoubtedly extol the virtues of immigration amongst the British population. High rate of immigration is a constructive phenomenon for Britain, however it also serves as a great barometer of the UK’s “attractiveness.” The fact that the UK is one of the most desirable destination for foreigners has to be a matter of pride for the country and its society.
How else could immigrants contribute positively to the UK economy and social sector?