Migrant workers represent a significant portion of any workforce. With the economy as it is and Brexit not far over the horizon behind us, it is important to remember that without them, we are at a loss. Fruit goes unpicked in the fields and UK workers refuse to do some of the jobs associated with migrant workers in a pre-Brexit world.
With Europe and Northern America having the largest portions of migrant workers out of any other country combination, it is important that we remember the worth of that work. There are benefits to encouraging this kind of growth, both for the migrant workers themselves and for UK businesses. This article reflects on those benefits of hiring immigrants so we can keep that knowledge at the forefront of our minds during the hiring process.
The Benefits of Hiring Migrant Workers
There are many benefits to hiring migrant workers which benefit both our businesses and the labour market. Let’s explore the advantages of hiring migrant workers in the UK, emphasizing their valuable contributions to our system.
1 – Migrant Workers Address Shortfalls in the Labour Market
The most obvious reason to celebrate migrant workers is how they fill gaps in our labour market. They bring different skills, knowledge, and social experiences to the table. They have unique qualifications and expertise which may not be popular in this country. Whether you work in construction, healthcare, or hospitality, migrants can help bridge areas like the digital skills gap, ensuring that the modern business can thrive and remain competitive.
2 – Innovation and Growth
Migrant workers contribute to economic growth by boosting productivity in whichever country they settle in. They bring diverse experiences, multiple different backgrounds, and fresh innovation and perspectives to your company. Research shows that not only are migrants around 27% less likely to claim benefits in the UK than UK born workers, and even suggests that foreign-born workers are far more likely to do the hard shifts, such as working nights and in seasonal roles.
3 – Sector-Specific Contributions
Some sectors rely heavily on migrant workers to make up that shortfall in skills that we just don’t have. Sectors which spring to mind include the NHS and healthcare, the retail sector, and hospitality. The NHS greatly benefits from migrant healthcare professionals who fill essential roles. This is especially true in areas where we have a shortage of skilled domestic workers, for example, in the city centres.
4 – Remote Work
We have no problem in head-hunting the best of the best from all over the globe when it comes to tech and science. This ability to work remotely from anywhere in the world means that modern businesses can take advantage of skill sets without bringing the employees across the world to work in a foreign country. There should be no difference between relying on a person’s skills in person, or remotely. The skills stay the same, which is why it is so important to incorporate migrant and foreign workers into everyday office life.
5 – Achieving Diversity
We don’t just have diversity in the workplace so that we integrate migrant workers, we have it because it benefits business. A product development team made 100% of middle-aged white men will miss more than half of the target market. If you don’t consider how your product or service will impact the lives of women, children, those of different skin colours or hair types, then you will miss out on a significant portion of your customer base. Employing migrant workers boosts productivity and increases the diverse range of opinions that you have to draw from.
6 – Contributing to Public Finances
Contrary to popular misconceptions, migrant workers often make significant contributions to the UK system. They pay taxes, including income tax and VAT, which help fund our infrastructure and the NHS. Studies even indicate that migrants are less likely to access welfare benefits than UK residents. This makes sense since anyone wanting to work in the UK must do so via visa. These visas state the need for a formidable income or business before they step foot in the country.
7 – Filling Demographic Gaps
The UK faces demographic challenges due to its slow-growing, aging population. This year alone Scotland reported the highest elder death toll for thirty years – three of which include covid deaths. Migrant workers bring youth and exuberance to an aging workforce. The savvy employer would take advantage of this rather than fighting against it.
Hiring Migrant Workers Benefits Everyone
Not only do you gain a fresh-faced employee who wants to work hard, but the economy, the school system, the healthcare system, and the technology sector, have made huge leaps due to the contribution of migrant workers. It’s high time we started shifting our perspective for the better.
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