Fake left Guardian demands more low-wage migrants

Leith van Onselen, February 25, 2020

With UK wage growth recently hitting an 11-year high:

The Johnson Government last week announced that it would drop the salary threshold for “skilled” migrants by £4,400 to £25,600:

Those earning less than £25,600, but more than £20,480, could still apply for visas if they had a job in a “specific shortage occupation” or a PhD relevant to the job…

[The Government] is urging employers to “move away” from relying on “cheap labour” from Europe and invest in retaining staff and developing automation technology…

“It is important employers move away from a reliance on the UK’s immigration system as an alternative to investment in staff retention, productivity and wider investment in technology and automation,” it said.

Strangely, the globalists fake lefties at The Guardian have attacked the policy for locking-out low-wage migrants from the UK:

Even as it continues to make Britain an inhumane place to live for low-skill immigrants, to demonstrate its tough credentials to voters at home, it talks up how liberal its immigration policy is to the international business community. Judged by the low bar of Theresa May’s immigration proposals, which proposed a minimum £30,000 salary threshold for longer-term visas in a post-Brexit immigration system, Johnson’s proposed system is marginally more open… the salary threshold will be dropped to £26,500 and for designated shortage occupations, it will be lower at £20,480…

Many critical sectors of the economy, such as social care, have become reliant on low-paid workers from the EU. There is huge uncertainty about how this system will work for them; most care workers, for example, do not come close to the minimum salary threshold…

In making the case for overall levels of immigration to come down, Priti Patel, the home secretary, has argued that the 8.5 million “economically inactive” people aged 16-64 could do the jobs currently undertaken by immigrants. But the vast majority of these are retired, studying, full-time carers or sick. To take social care as an example again. Our ageing population means we will probably need an additional 800,000 more care workers in just 15 years. As the ratio of working-age adults to older people continues to decline, it would be very challenging to fill those vacancies without to some extent relying on immigrants. Those who argue that immigration acts to depress wages right across the economy buy into the fallacy that there are a fixed number of jobs. In fact, through spending their earnings, immigrants also create jobs. And working-age immigrants are net contributors to the exchequer: without immigration, taxes would have to go up to maintain current levels of healthcare and pension provision in an ageing society. The economics are indisputable…

For all the government’s sales pitch about its liberal and open approach to immigration, the message once immigrants actually get here is clear. If you live and work in Britain, but are not British, do not try to become so. Do not put down roots, settle down, or integrate. You are not welcome here. Britain is not open, not while we have a government that fails to treat those immigrants who live among us and enrich us with the dignity and humanity that they deserve.

The Guardian’s arguments are ridiculous. According to the Office For National Statistics, the median full-time salary in the UK was £585 per week as at April 2018, or £30,420 a year. Thus, the new ‘skilled’ migrant pay floor is nearly £5,000 below the population median full-time salary (which includes unskilled workers), thus will necessarily undercut local UK workers and lead to lower wage growth.

Hilariously, The Guardian last year reported that lower immigration was boosting UK wage growth:

Growing skills shortages in the UK jobs market are starting to drive up wages…

The research compiled by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the recruitment group Adecco showed that basic pay expectations had increased to the highest level since it began tracking wage agreements in 2012…

Despite growing concerns about the potential fallout for the British economy from no-deal Brexit, unemployment has hit the lowest rate since the mid 1970s…

The latest official data show that the number of unemployed people per job vacancy has dropped to 1.6, down from 5.8 in 2011…

Growing numbers of companies have expressed concern about the post-Brexit immigration system curtailing the number of migrant workers available to hire. Net migration from the rest of EU to the UK has slumped to a six-year low, exacerbating the difficulties facing companies looking to hire staff.

Two-thirds of private sector firms in the CIPD/Adecco survey had increased their starting salaries in response to recruitment challenges, up from 56% in the final three months of last year.

An empirical study by the Bank of England also found that immigration into the UK had pulled average wages down, especially among the lower skilled:

This paper asks whether immigration to Britain has had any impact on average wages. There seems to be a broad consensus among academics that the share of immigrants in the workforce has little or no effect on native wages…

We find that the immigrant to native ratio has a small negative impact on average British wages. This finding is important for monetary policy makers, who are interested in the impact that supply shocks, such as immigration, have on average wages and overall inflation. Our results also reveal that the biggest impact of immigration on wages is within the semi/unskilled services occupational group… where a 10 percentage point rise in the proportion of immigrants is associated with a 2 percent reduction in pay.

…the impact of immigration on wages in semi/unskilled services is much larger than can be accounted for by purely compositional effects, suggesting that the vast majority of this effect refers to the impact on native workers.

The economics is indisputable: continually increasing labour supply via immigration, and enabling employers to recruit workers from a global pool and to forgo training, necessarily reduces workers’ bargaining power and ergo wages growth.

The Guardian’s open borders fetish is a betrayal of the working class and plays straight into the hands of the neoliberal capitalists it purports to fight.

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