Pro-immigration or anti-immigration? It’s something that has been hitting the headlines in the UK since UKIP emerged from the dark recesses of middle earth, immigration has been flooding the minds and news reports of every British television channel, most of which, have a negative slant. This, my friends totally aggravates the living daylights out of me and for many reasons! In this post, I will try to discuss both the pros and cons of immigration but also how it affects a country’s productivity and creativity.
Productivity and economic boost
The BBC very recently released an article that EU migrants help boost the economy by 5bn a year! That’s right £5,000,000,000!
Obviously, not all of this accounts for the creative migrants but I will get around to discussing that shortly.
Every world government would love to see an extra £5bn in their kitty each year and thus makes logical sense to be pro-immigration but some native British people are anti-immigration because of financial migrants, those seeking the benefits that the British government provides its residents, a free house, free money whilst looking for work, free health care and good infrastructure to name a few.
These migrants are actually VERY few in number and on average less than 1.5% of migrants ( that is 1 in 100 ) are financial migrants on out of work benefits ( see channel 4’s truth about immigration) and what immigrants bring is not only an economic boost but also cultural differences.
Some British people (unfortunately around 77%, see fig1 about reducing immigration), particularly of an older age don’t want any more immigration. Some of them feel their sense of identity is being lost and our island is becoming ‘too full’ because 12% ( 1 in 10 ) of the population is now of foreign birth.
The truth of the matter is that no one likes change or things that are so different to what they know, it can be unsettling and people want to have a sense of identity, belonging and or purpose but from my point of view, this is the wrong attitude to have because by understanding and learning from one another we increase our creative way of thinking.
Immigration broadens the mind
Travel broadens the mind but immigration also does the same for creative types. By having a healthy immigration policy businesses are employing people with a huge variety of different backgrounds, cultural rituals and different thought processes to the next person which enriches a creative team and also your own way of thinking.
As a creative, this can only be a good thing as we manipulate and traverse thoughts into things and as we grow as a designer we build more ergonomic and better user experiences for all people by understanding one another.
Learning and accepting each other’s differences and accepting people into society helps you open your mind up to even more possibilities creatively. Some of the greatest creatives that have ever lived are not from the country they design their famous work in, for example, take Apple.
Jony Ive a British born designer that revolutionised design and user experience didn’t make his name in his homeland but in the USA.
If immigration wasn’t allowed and there was as much bitterness towards migration as there seems to be today then Apple may never have achieved the success it has which would be a huge disappointment.
The downside of being pro-immigration
Although immigration does generally boost a country’s economy, productivity and creativity it does have some downsides one of which is the cost of housing.
With London having a larger population than the whole of Switzerland it is clear to see why a 1 bed flat in the area costs the same price as a 3 bedroom house in the north of the country, competition for a comfortable living space is high and you need to move fast to get anything close to a bargain, many people having to live with strangers and rent just a room to be able to afford to live in the region.
That isn’t so comfortable, every creative needs their space.
Next is the level of competition for work, with a higher population than job creation it makes it harder to arrive at a job than it would have done before the population increased.
It could be argued this is good for a country as the standard of work will be higher but for those looking to try and make a living, it can be a bit disheartening when you are up against someone who has many more years of experience than you or you get rejected without chance of progressing your skills and career it can affect a country’s moral negatively as a whole.
Personally, I love cultural and hobby interest differences in people and one reason I am pro-immigration but because there are differences sometimes people may offend one another without actually intending to due to not understanding a particular culture, this can cause rifts in the community. Also, when a particular race ‘stays with their own’ and makes little effort to try and make friends with the natives or people from different walks of life that can also create an anti-social environment to live in and break down communities.
So is immigration good or bad for boosting a country’s creative powers?
The last paragraph may have seemed quite negative, they are real issues that people worry about with immigration but the good news is that they CAN be addressed and the pro side of immigration far outways the negative aspects when one sits back and takes a holistic look at the issue.
As a creative professional it helps us learn new things, new ways of doing things, broaden our minds to new experiences which in turn enhances our thought processes and boosts productivity and generates new ideas more easily. As a country, the economy is also enhanced which will then leads to further businesses setting up and more job creation for the country. Being pro-immigration, in my opinion, with all the evidence, is always a win for any country in the world.
So I’m standing up for immigrants, immigrants that work hard, want to achieve something great in their lives and learn from new experiences and enhance the lives of others as they do.
Those people of the world that just want a better quality of life and embrace it with open arms as it strengthens not only their creativity but also our own creative skills as well as bringing acceptance of others and their differences.
What are your thoughts on this matter and do you find working with other nationalities has increased your own abilities? Are you pro-immigration or anti?