Today the European Commission announced that the UK along with Germany and Spain are headed for recession. Technically of course, a recession is merely 2 consecutive quarters of negative growth to the GDP. But in mor psychological terms, a recession in the UK means that policy makers are seeking ways to cut back on national costs. One of those perceived costs is th employment of immigrants in the UK, supposedly at the expense of employing locals to those roles. The latest data on migration to the UK is now 2 years old, but even in that data it’s clear that the vast majority of migration to the UK is from EU countries which don’t need any visa to work here, and ‘new Commonwealth’ nations of the west Asian belt. Eastern Europeans outranked ‘old Commonwealth’ nations (like Australia, Canada and New Zealand) by over 100,000. Nevertheless, Australians will now find it harder than ever to move to the UK and even those who are based here (like myself) will find it hard to extend our current visas.
To some extent, I’m immune to all this, as I have been working here and have earned enough to be classed as a valuable asset in the UK. But it worries me that in a time of recession, my status as an immigrant puts me in an uncertain position. It is an odd feeling, being an alien in a land which otherwise feels so comfortable it might as well be home. In truth, my place here is fairly safe. But it’s strange to think that a place that has otherwise been so welcoming could potentially turn against me if the economy requires it.