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Mass Immigration, scare mongering??

(317 Posts)
Flickstix Thu 24-Jan-13 10:09:24

Am I being unreasonable to think it is a problem or am I just falling prey to media propaganda? The whole EU debate seems to have highlighted it but I would like to understand it better.

mathanxiety Tue 29-Jan-13 19:52:12

Actually, to be boringly technical here, when I say 'Ireland' was a net exporter of people for a hundred years (very rough figure incidentally), I wasn't quite accurate. Until 1922 Ireland was part of the UK so it was actually the UK from which millions of people from the Irish region emigrated.

Millions of Scots also left the UK over the centuries come to think of it.

mathanxiety Tue 29-Jan-13 19:09:36

Ireland was a net exporter of people for about one hundred years. Millions of Irish people left, all young. Millions of women in particular left the west, and communities were devastated. The effects of this were still to be seen in small communities in the west and northwest as late as the 2000s, with a much higher level than normal of schizophrenia, particularly among elderly bachelors living alone or with their bachelor brothers in run down cottages without running water or indoor toilets (women tend to be faster to adopt domestic improvements and to nag men to get improvements done).

At the same time, families were able to use a relative in Oz or the US as a base to send others abroad temporarily or in lieu of enduring poverty and lack of opportunity to go further via education at home, and this was particularly useful when times were rough in Ireland and for families for whom third level education was not going to be a possibility. Emigration from some parts of the west was often seen as a temporary measure, with families coming and going from Boston or New York to towns and farms in the poorest counties. I knew many schoolfriends who were entitled to American citizenship by virtue of a grandparent born in Philadelphia and able to prove it. They knew if they got a degree or some training they could hop on a plane and settle in the US whenever they wanted, with little or no red tape. Irish people could serve in the US military and enjoy VA educational benefits, healthcare and pensions.

And of course money flowed back home that benefitted the local economy greatly. Farmers stayed on farms because they could afford stock or seed or machinery. Shopkeepers stayed in business when money from a rellie tided them over when locals had to ask for credit beyond the normal limits. Bank loans were paid back. The experience of life in the US served as an impetus towards modernisation even in the most backward of places. People liked the nice bathrooms they had in Boston. They liked the flower gardens and the decent public libraries. When they returned they wanted the same in Mayo.

It was and is very much a plus for Irish people to have links to the US and it must be said, for the US to have had a constant stream of immigrants from Ireland to build railroads, canals, cities, sewer systems -- just as they did in Britain too. Ditto for the chance the EU offers to all its members, and the benefits flow both ways. Don't forget in these days of (misguided imo) belt tightening that British citizens can go all over the EU and that educational opportunities in particular are available on the same basis as they are to locals.

The downside for Ireland was that as long as the pressure valve existed, political pressure to improve the economy was relieved. What made a difference for Ireland was membership of the EEC (which meant many elements of Irish life had to be raised to first world standards) and the economic growth thanks to massive expansion of educational opportunities, a change of course on the part of the Department of Finance to favour encouragement of growth, and the sudden availability of markets for Irish products (EEC/EU) that happened from the 60s on. Ireland eventually became a net importer of immigrants and probably will again.

Romania, etc. (if we are again talking about mass immigration of Romanians) may follow the same patters as Irish emigration did -- people will go where they are already established and will come and go, will send money home that will eventually grow Romania as well as the places they settle.

thanksamillion Tue 29-Jan-13 13:59:10

Absolutely dreamingofsun. The country I live in has been decimated by young people leaving. There are many many children here growing up without one or even both parents because they're working abroad.

But because we're not in the EU many of them are working illegally and this compounds the problems. They go for longer (often years and years) because it's not so easy to travel back and forth, they pay huge amounts to dodgy 'agents' who get them papers and promise work and then are hugely in debt so aren't able to return even if they wanted to.

Having restrictions on who can come and work in the UK doesn't solve this problem.

dreamingofsun Tue 29-Jan-13 13:13:18

oblov - i also wonder if its that great for the countries they leave, especially if its the youngest, most educated, hardest working that go

dreamingofsun Tue 29-Jan-13 13:12:01

oblom - under that last wave of immigration i understand it benefited people who employed cleaners/plumbers/builders etc as the hourly pay rates reduced. care homes were able to get enough employees without increasing wages. Basically if you are a private individual who employs or uses the services of people or a business you have been able to get staff more cheaply as the immigrants are usually more desperate for work; are used to working at lower pay rates; and possibly don't have the higher costs that UK workers do (eg mortgage or children in UK).

god help the people who they displaced who had maybe spent years training for their professions.

Oblomov Tue 29-Jan-13 13:00:45

Or how can anyone possibly benefit from mass immigration?
I don't have a problem with immigration. Of course its healty, good for us, society, business everything.
BUT, when we are at breaking point, and it now becomes 'apparent' that it is virtually mass, i.e that there is an agreememnt that is going to come into affect that will mean many many more immigrants will be arriving, when we are already at breaking point, then surely this has to be questioned.
What are the benefits of mass imm? I can't see one. I see the benefits of immigration, but not mass immigration.
Name me one plus point. How is this good for any uk citizen?

Harriet35 Tue 29-Jan-13 12:01:32

Why would anyone that is negatively affected by mass immigration be in favour of it?

Oblomov Tue 29-Jan-13 11:38:45

Mrs DV said "There will be no mass immigration."
But wasn't it on the news the other day that the Foreign secretary(?) or someone, admitted that the actual changes that are about to come into force, the figures had been significantly underestmated.
So the gov has finally admitted that the numbers are about to rise significantly. How is that not mass imigration?

Trazzletoes Tue 29-Jan-13 11:22:31

flatpack perhaps you should read back your own posts where you quite clearly confuse Roma and Romanians...

GothAnneGeddes Tue 29-Jan-13 11:12:50

Flat pack - you claim that anyone not concerned about mass immigration wasn't impacted by it, I told you otherwise and you start immediately sneering about "Guardianista credentials".

I do not see giving some details from my experience with immigration as rubbing anything in your face.

Also, you very clearly did seem to be getting Roma and Romanian people mixed up, hence several posters correcting you.

flatpackhamster Tue 29-Jan-13 11:05:47


Somebody may be getting mixed up between Romanians and Roma, but it isn't me.


Flatpack If GothAnne husband is anything like mine she does have personal experience of immigration. I have a dh who used to be part self employed and got plenty of experience of tax returns from it!

I've got personal experience of a baby but that doesn't make me more qualified to talk on the subject of national childcare standards than anyone else.

No, GothAnne was just trying to rub her Guardianista credentials in my face, to show how tolerant and diverse she was.

Hesterton Tue 29-Jan-13 06:08:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mathanxiety Tue 29-Jan-13 03:52:52

x post a bit

mathanxiety Tue 29-Jan-13 03:51:19

Flatpack, I was trying to clarify the issue of who is taking houses, etc., from Britons, and since so many people have bandied around the term 'mass immigration' and since Romanians have been singled out as members of that nebulous 'mass', with mutterings about immigrants claiming houses, etc., I am glad you were able to point out that Romanians are not the baddies here. If they are out of the running for Public Offender Number One then who is left in?

Are we confusing Romanians and Roma here to some extent Flatpack? The Roma live all over Europe and in the British Isles. British Roma have lived on the island for centuries.

MummytoKatie Mon 28-Jan-13 22:36:58

sulks in disappointment

Hesterton Mon 28-Jan-13 20:21:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MummytoKatie Mon 28-Jan-13 20:14:35

thanksamill is the "Roman" in Romania connected to the Romans? If so - it would make perfect sense that Romanian and Italian are similar languages.

MummytoKatie Mon 28-Jan-13 20:08:20

Flatpack If GothAnne husband is anything like mine she does have personal experience of immigration. I have a dh who used to be part self employed and got plenty of experience of tax returns from it!

thanksamillion Mon 28-Jan-13 19:05:59

Thank you Hesterton I was just about to make the same point about Roma and Romanians not necessarily being the same thing.

flatpackhamster And why on earth would Romanians go to Italy? Not only are there no jobs there for anyone but Italians, there's casual violence against Roma and they don't speak Italian? As I said earlier, I am in a neighbouring country to Romania, speak Romanian and know many Romanians. Italy is a very popular choice. Yes it's harder to find work now, but there are many established Romanian comunities there, the culture is more similar and linguistically Italian is very similar to Romanian. A Romanian speaker can generally understand Italian without too much difficulty. You may find it hard to believe but it is true. And as Hesterton said not all Romanians are Roma.

Hesterton Mon 28-Jan-13 18:58:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

flatpackhamster Mon 28-Jan-13 17:10:29


flatpack I would love to know where you get your figures from (particulrly 1 million by 2017)?

That's my estimate. When the government allowed Poles and other migrants in early and without limits, its estimate for total migration was out by a factor of 5. I think that the current estimates are also likely to be out by the same.

I like the website you link to - it shows that there has been some growth in the Romanian economy, a small dip in unempolyment after some growth and a drop in net migration. And the latest figures show that 21% of Romanians live below the poverty line (although I agree its a very different poverty line to that of the UK). They also seem to be doing fairly well with industrial production.

In 20 years time, they may be ready to join the EU.


1) I live just outside of Birmingham in an a hugely multi-cultural area, with lots of immigration from the Windrush era right up until the present day. I am also married to a Non-EU immigrant, now UK citizen, so have personal experience of the UK immigration system.

That isn't personal experience of the UK immigration system. Nor does it have any bearing here apart from as a tool for you to imply your social superiority. Sorry, that only works on Guardian readers, not on me.

2) EU citizens cannot claim asylum. Repeat: they cannot claim asylum. As discussed upthread, there is no instant benefits or housing for them, others have described the process in greater detail, I suggest you go and read it.

I never said they could. Repeat: I never said they could.

I suggest you re-read my post in greater detail.

As for your comments about what is real poverty and what is not... I was going to go into a discussion about methods of measuring poverty and that it important to look not just as poverty but at social inequality too, but considering that you're probably the sort of person who'd start ranting about flat-screen televisions, I can't be bothered.

I'm sure you're the sort of person who is so convinced of their moral superiority that they can't imagine for a moment that anyone could question their authority.

What a shame you have no actual arguments and so you resort to arguing about things you imagine I might have said.

As pretty stated, both Romania and Bulgaria are predicted to have economic growth, also travel patterns vary from country to country, Italy is likely to be a more attractive option for Romanians then the UK, for example.

I can 'predict' economic growth. Doesn't mean it's going to happen. And why on earth would Romanians go to Italy? Not only are there no jobs there for anyone but Italians, there's casual violence against Roma and they don't speak Italian?

Hungary is a long term EU member, yet has had very little outward migration, despite also having similar economic issues, the same goes for Estonia and Slovenia.

[[ Estonia has the largest outward migration of any of the 27 EU nations.]

Do you even check your facts before you make spurious claims , or do you imagine that your Multi-Culti credentials mean that you don't have to?


So as of today, Flatpack, Romanians can't actually claim a house, etc. ?

My post specifically said 'next year'. I wrote 'next year' and I meant 'next year'.

They will have to wait until next year to do that? In the meantime, are they 'claiming houses'?

No. Nor will they be able to use the asylum system to do so.

It's funny, but I notice a theme here. I notice an awful lot of people trying to address arguments I never made.

Flossle Mon 28-Jan-13 09:11:44

and this from the Guardian

Flossle Mon 28-Jan-13 09:09:43

this article this morning about government plans to curb immigration

thanksamillion Mon 28-Jan-13 06:26:16

I've said this several times already but I agree with Goth. From what I hear in Romania there just aren't hoards of people just waiting to come. Those that wanted to have found a way, and the UK just isn't the first choice for lots. Italy is much more similar in terms of culture and Italian is very easy for Romanian speakers to pick up.

Does anyone know where you can get stats on how many migrants are leaving (iyswim)? because the other thing is that most people here who have left to work abroad have done so on a temporary basis, often leaving family behind, and fully intend to come back.

mathanxiety Mon 28-Jan-13 04:49:27

So as of today, Flatpack, Romanians can't actually claim a house, etc. ?

They will have to wait until next year to do that? In the meantime, are they 'claiming houses'?

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