New study shows that restricting UK visas to key professions would stifle economic growth, the Guardian reports.
A groundbreaking research project from a leading UK University has revealed the huge and positive entrepreneurial impact that Britain’s immigrant communities have had on the country. The findings raise significant questions in the debate over immigration policies.
The leaders of all three main parties have pledged to restrict immigration from outside the EU, and allow in a limited number of migrants who possess skills in short supply.
Such measures could stifle the number of entrepreneurs entering the UK who have no recognised qualifications but possess what Lord Sugar told Arjun Rajyagor, the 17-year-old winner of last week’s Junior Apprentice from Essex, was a “natural business flair combined with intelligence that you can’t learn”.
Richard Webber, visiting professor of geography at King’s College London, who has studied the data, said:
“Until now the discussion about immigration has been about workers rather than entrepreneurs. There has been a tendency to say ‘the countryside is short of people picking vegetables so we need more Romanians’ or ‘we are short of nurses so we need more Nigerians.’ That’s a reasonable debate to have, but the issue of entrepreneurship is different; it’s not about shortages.”
Using information from a variety of sources, Experian, the massive data analysis company, has built up a database of nearly half a million entrepreneurs – company directors, partners in professional practices and sole traders – in the largest mapping exercise of its kind.
The sectors in which the entrepreneurs work are then identified, while their names are cross-referenced to a database with information relating to a billion individuals from around the world, allowing for their cultural, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds to be established.
The resulting groups were then given a figure – where 100 indicates the UK average. Anything higher than around 120 indicates that an ethnic group is significantly over-represented in a particular entrepreneurial field.
In general, the research found that people of non-white British origin were hugely over-represented in medical practices (a figure of 235), dental practices (215), dispensing chemists (253) and the wholesale of pharmaceutical products (241).
People of English origin scored 101.2 on the index, hardly above the average, while the Scottish scored 95.5 and the Welsh 90.4 – both below the average.
Sectors dominated by the Irish tend to involve building – the hiring out of construction machinery equipment (242), construction and demolition work (210) and civil engineering (189).
“These businesses, it might be argued, are the cultural descendants of the Irish who came to Britain to build the railways,” Webber said.
The findings shows a disproportionately high number of traders and merchants in the UK come from families hailing from the old Silk Route stretching from northern India to Turkey. Italians were found to be especially concentrated in businesses associated with food.
But the data also threw up some findings that have geographers puzzled. For example, the proportion of Sri Lankans running the UK’s petrol stations was more than 10 times the norm. Source: Guardian.co.uk
The results of this study will come as no surprise to anyone who just opens their eyes and looks at the numbers of first or second generation immigrant families running the shops, restaurants and takeaways post offices and other businesses in their communities.
Entrepreneurial immigrants not only bring enormous economic benefits, energy and enthusiasm to the UK. They are also helping the country come out of recession by creating jobs.
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