Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Imagine if all the immigrants went home ....

This is the face of the modern British countryside, where workers from Latvia, Lithuania and Poland prop up our beleagured agricultural sector.

In the whole of the 10-hour shift I observe, there was just one fleeting tea break. Stakhanov would've been proud. Almost as proud as the Lincolnshire farmer whose veg the eastern Europeans are picking.

Tim Samuels, The Independent.

Already some American farmers have felt the bite of an increase in border security between them and Mexico.

What will become of the extreme right party members in England if immigrants go home?

The house in a swanky north London neighbourhood is a half-finished shell. Walls are exposed, wires hang loose, and taps are not yet connected to the mains. There's another six months' well-paid work left to finish this major refurbishment, but the builders have upped sticks overnight and taken a better offer. Remarkably, that better offer is back in their native Poland. Could this be a sign of a massive "drain drain"? An example of Britain's army of Polish plumbers and builders heading back to eastern Europe? Having conquered our kitchens, are the Poles about to return home en masse, leaving a trail of dripping taps?

Jane, the 33-year-old owner of the half-built house, is at loss for words – as well as builders. "They called to say they wouldn't be coming back on Monday," she says. "I've no idea what I'm going to do. They were great – very punctual, very hard-working."

...Yet just as we've started enjoying the benefits of this mass immigration – and taking for granted having an insatiable supply of reliable, tea break-shunning builders – it might be back to the Yellow Pages. And back to putting the kettle on.

The article ends ... The construction industry is already warning that we need another 182,000 workers just to pull off the London Olympics projects – including 15,000 more plumbers. Forget the athletics. Our greatest Olympic triumph might be training 15,000 homegrown plumbers. Lord knows how anyone will get a leak fixed when 2012 kicks in. We may soon be rather nostalgic for the days when we had Poles on tap.


Peter said...

You know Di, you almost scared me.
If all the immigrants went home I'd be totally lost.

Who would cook my dinner, clean my place, get my groceries, fix my balcony, meet me at ViaVia?

I'm convinced I wouldn't be able to survive the experience!


Di Mackey said...

Oh Peter, I do believe you're mocking me ;) but I did giggle.

I think the Via Via immigrant would be the most missed one.

Peter said...

I'm glad I made you giggle Di ;-)

On a more serious note:
my brother married an immigrant, many of the building jobs in Belgium are currently being filled by migrants (especially skilled ones from Eastern Europe), most of the unattractive jobs are being picked up by low skilled migrants, many of the EU employees are non -natives: well, basically the list is very long.

As a country Belgium would get in some serious trouble if all migrants 'just went home'.

V-Grrrl said...

In America I get very frustrated with people who focus only on what immigrants "cost" America and not what they contribute. I know it's a complex issue, but I'd like to see it reported fairly.

Di Mackey said...

People don't think, I guess I'm intrigued by how it would be if circumstances made them see what they've been blind to for so long.