Britain to feel the scarcity of low-skilled workers following Brexit, says study
Posted on August 5, 2016
After the UK officially leaves the European Union, about 590,000 citizens belonging to other EU countries forfeit their chances to remain in Britain. A majority of them would most definitely be low-skilled workers. Technology workers and those in the financial sector would continue to stay on since they are needed by their firms.
People wanting immigration barriers are usually against low-skilled workers. This theory is said to hold good for all developed nations, as these prejudices overcome educational and ideological backgrounds. According to researchers, this is true in America as well as Europe.
A paper published in 2015 by Mette Foged, (University of Copenhagen) and Giovanni Peri, (University of California, Davis), on the other hand, says that the theory that influx of low-skilled workers from overseas countries increases unemployment among low-skilled natives is baseless. In fact, it says that immigrants’ presence motivates the locals to train themselves in other trades and obtain jobs with relatively higher skills.
These authors say that immigration rules are, however, tilted in the favour of high-skilled workers. This is substantiated by the fact that Israel, which usually allows only Jews to enter its country, has eased visa regulations for technology workers for whom there are 10,000 opportunities there. The UK is also most likely to follow the same example in the post-Brexit world. Immigrants coming into this European nation would be most probably highly skilled workers. On the other hand, plumbers, electricians, waiters, etc. would be asked to leave.
Bloomberg quotes the UK’s Social Market Foundation, according to which, of 3.55 million people belonging to EU who are residing right now in Britain, over 1 million do not have permanent resident status. Around 590,000 citizens would have no other option but to leave the UK by the end of 2019 as the country would no longer be a part of EU. A majority of these would be citizens of Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Greece, Italy and Spain. These countries are mostly high-unemployment countries, people of which take up jobs with minimum qualifications.
If that is the case, Britain would see a repeat of what had happened in Russia from late 2014 till end of 2015. A sharp decline in oil prices led to a decline in the rouble’s exchange rate.
Russia, which had received net immigrants numbering 37,000 from Uzbekistan, saw 21,000 Uzbeks leave the country in 2015. When these people left Moscow, there was nobody left to clear the rubbish, sweep the streets, wait at tables and so on. It was quite chaotic. Russians began to complain, with many demanding that the government introduce visas for low-skilled workers.
The scenario in the UK is going to be much worse, according to the authors. Since the economy is already on the downside, this nation would not be able to pay higher wages to make locals take the jobs which were normally done by the immigrants. Another fallout of the Brexit referendum has been the rise of hate crime against immigrants in the UK, more particularly in the areas where Brits voted to leave the EU. Immigrants would be only too glad to leave these hostile regions of Britain.
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