An immigrant’s perspective on immigration

It wouldn't be wrong to call London the immigrant capital of the world

Share
Related Topics

I am an immigrant.

Not one of those naturalised immigrants, but one who is the midst of attempting to extend his stay in this country right now. I am not from the European Union, I have an Indian passport and I often need to prove my right to live in this country.

I moved here in September 2009 to study my Masters from University of Westminster, and have been working with a company since May 2011. I pay my taxes, I have never claimed benefits and I have been to the NHS just once in the past three-and-half years.

For the duration of my stay in the UK, I have been in London and the multi-culturalism of this city has amazed me. It is the very much like one of those Chinese buffets where you will find just about everything - people from all walks of life and all parts of the world live here. It wouldn't be wrong to call it the immigrant capital of the world.

I have met people who find this point outrageous. I for one, think it is what makes London London. It is the allure of the city, it is also the reason why many people decide to stay here, visit and set up their businesses - from local restaurants to the big multi-national organisations.

Immigrants contribute to the UK economy, they also take away from it. The net effect of their impact is difficult to ascertain. For every immigrant who claims benefits, there may be one, two or three who contribute tax to the system. Do we have figures for 'good' immigration and 'bad' immigration? No, and this is what makes this topic very tricky to handle.

All the major parties in the UK right now seem intrigued by this subject and are trying their best to outdo each other in finding a solution to it. While, this may be a natural decision made by said parties, it is hard to not to ascribe it a knee-jerk reaction to the success of the UK Independence Party in the past few months.

I interviewed someone from the UKIP once. Abhijit Pandya - he stood for elections in the Harrow East council back in 2010. You can see parts of his interview, if you so wish. Pandya is the son of an Indian who migrated from Uganda, and was born and brought up in Harrow - a council with a sizeable Indian population.

He was vehemently opposed to immigration. The irony of his stance was not lost on him, but the fact that he was born in Britain gave him a sense of belonging to this country. I don't have a problem with that, I just want to merely point out that even some second-generation immigrants think that immigration is a problem.

The 'problem' of immigration is one whose roots lie in Britain's past. Immigration comes about as a direct result of a wish to move to a better place, find a better life. In most cases at least, this seems to be the motivation. Britain's colonialist past certainly has something to do with its current immigration predicament.

The East India Company travelled far and wide in the 18th and 19th centuries, and brought many nations under British control. But unlike most conquerers, apart from just governing these places, they also settled down and established many educational institutes which helped spread the English language.

After the end of the colonialist period, many of the newly formed nations were independent for the first time in their histories. Before this period they were largely segregated and ruled by different regional rulers or belonging to their respective tribes.

The newly elected governments were simply incapable of running these countries as they lacked the experience. Over decades or centuries the colonialists had almost conditioned the peoples of various countries to obey. In such circumstances, some people decided to migrate. And what better place to go than the home of the former rulers who were so very kind to teach them the language they spoke too?

Is immigration a problem? If someone gives you a stats-based answer, just know that it is probably to suit their own respective agenda.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Langley James : CRM Services Manager; West London up to £40k

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Langley James : CRM Services Manager; West London u...

Langley James : IT Support; Residential Agency; Mayfair; up to £30k

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Langley James : IT Support; Residential Agency; May...

SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Associate Recruitm...

SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Associate Recruitm...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Australian cricketer Phil Hughes has died aged 25  

Phillip Hughes: A sensational man, both on and off the pitch

Angus Fraser
Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party  

If people voted for policies, the Green Party would win the next election

Lee Williams
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?