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UK: Facts and figures that give a fuller picture of migration


But one of the most obvious problems is sitting under their noses:
they have insisted on basing resources on outdated population
estimates in key areas where migration has taken place.

Ever since the poll tax generated a substantial number of people who
chose to go unrecorded in the census of 1991, councils and health
authorities have been complaining that large numbers, especially
including migrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees, are all too
often missed off census data. And, of course, many arrive between the
10-yearly census, and may not be counted in routine checks for up to
nine years.

Ministers of successive governments have tried to shrug off the
problem – and the result is that there is just not the money in the
pot to deliver adequate services.

Housing, education and health services are obviously on the
frontline, with cash-limited budgets generally at full stretch or
beyond, even without any additional demand from people arriving from

The virtual collapse of council housing, triggered by Margaret
Thatcher's "right to buy" legislation, has continued 10 years after
Tony Blair's election. It has piled huge pressure on housing
departments which have to allocate an inadequate stock of affordable
homes according to need – aware of the right-wing Press, jingoists
and racists seeking any excuse to claim that migrant workers
have "jumped the queue".

The low age profile of migrants means that they are likely to bring
children who at first speak little or no English, and who will need
to be taught in schools which are already under-staffed and under-

But, if migrant workers are seen as an extra pressure exposing some
of the Government's failed policies, they can be seen as the
salvation of social services, care of the elderly and the NHS.

For decades, social services' budgets have been squeezed and scaled
down, even while Health Ministers urge the swifter discharge of
frail, older patients from hospitals.

None of these problems can be laid at the door of migrants. Their
average age profile is relatively low – 15-44 – and few, if any, of
them require access to services for older people. If it were not for
migrant workers willing to carry out demanding and stressful work for
the low wages paid by nursing homes – all of which are in the private
or voluntary sector – these services would be in a state of collapse.

Nursing and residential homes for the elderly have emerged as one of
the main services drawing in nursing and care staff from overseas –
especially eastern Europe and the Philippines.

Clearly, migrant workers and their families are potential users of
health services, and here again the mismatch between the census
figures and cash allocations for Primary Care Trusts can lead to
severe pressure on services.

Most migrants are relatively young and in good health. However, some
refugees may be traumatised by violence or may be victims of torture.
Some may be suffering from physical illnesses for which no treatment
was available or affordable in their home country.

To make matters worse, the NHS up and down the country is being urged
to centralise services and scale down hospital care, imposing a "one
size fits all" policy regardless of local demographic trends,
population growth and immigration.

But we must not leave out of this equation the huge plus that
migration has delivered for the NHS, which has always been heavily
dependent upon migrant workers to fill vacant posts at every level,
from hospital consultants to cleaners and portering staff.

The most recent figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council show
that a third of all newly registered nurses last year were from
outside the UK.

Poland's accession to the EU has brought a rapid increase in the
number of Polish nurses, who now rank as the fourth largest numbers
added to the latest NMC register.

For all those eager to find a pretext to call for a halt, or
restrictions, on immigration, there is one more important issue to

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development, the long-term affordability of pensions for the ageing
populations of the UK and Europe can only be secured by one of two
options: either a large increase in the age of retirement, coupled
with substantial additional contributions to personal pension
schemes – or
substantial immigration of younger workers, who can pay taxes and
contribute to the welfare budget.

Faced with a choice, for most of us, of working on to 70 years of age
or reorganising to integrate migrant workers much better into a
growing economy, who really wants to put up the shutters against
those who want to live and work here?

Re: UK: Facts and figures that give a fuller picture of migration

It's true about care homes. They do pay a pittance and the one my friend's aunt was admitted to in Somerset is full of Polish care staff. Nice for her as although she is English, she was married to a Polish man. Not quite sure why they pay staff a pittance when they charge such high weekly rates for residential care.

Re: UK: Facts and figures that give a fuller picture of migration

The big problem too is some staff have worked in the care homes for a long time and are really dedicated, they now don't get pay rises as they are told that 'plent of people want the jobs'.
Wages are being kept low due to the influx of cheap labour.
The dedicated staff are leaving to to 'temp care' then the cheap labour leavs and goes home or moves on.
My point is that this cheap labour has no loyalty at all.
The shi* will hit the fan. This year Bupa gave a 7p per hour pay rise to care staff!
Many residents find the poor level of English a huge problem, Training is a problem too many failing the basic skills test to do the NVQ.

Re: UK: Facts and figures that give a fuller picture of migration

It also should mean that the NHS pays less for residential care. However, this isn't happening as most care homes are putting their charges up all the time. It seems to be a lucrative business these days particularly with the ageing population.

Care home staff have been historically poorly paid wherever they come from.