tv Al Jazeera World News LINKTV October 27, 2013 4:00pm-4:31pm PDT
>> millions of people set out every year from the country of their birth to start afresh. but of all workers, migrants are among the most vulnerable, and the global recession has played havoc with their hopes and dreams. 50 million jobs could be lost by the end of the year, so migrants have a stark choice between the life they've come to know with all its hardships and the life they left behind.
should they stay? or should they go? anna and mariusz glod are the new generation of migrants. like 500,000 of their countrymen, they took advantage of poland's accession to the european union in 2004, giving them freedom to work in the u.k. four years later, almost 1.5 million eastern european, or a8 migrants, had arrived. [beeps] [woman speaking native language] worldwide, migrants will number 214 million by 2010, 3% of the world's inhabitants, up from 190 million 5 years ago. polish people have become the u.k.'s biggest foreign population, so, increasingly, retailers target that market, and reminders of
home are just one of the attractions. [speaking native language] >> we would like to start our life together, because in poland, i was living with my--my parents and mariusz was living with his parents. so, yeah. and i thought maybe i can find better job in england here than in poland. >> but in common with the majority of migrants around the world, 80% of eastern european arrivals work in lower skilled jobs. anna studied finance and administration in poland, but in the u.k., she works in the office at a warehouse.
mariusz worked at a honda supplier for two years, but the car maker's 4-month shutdown early in 2009 ended that. now, he too has a job in a warehouse. [speaking native language] the recession has had a marked effect on migrants arriving in host countries. worldwide, the downturn is dramatic. in the u.k. at the peak 3 years ago, around 37,000 poles, for example, were arriving every 3 months. it's now around 12,000, but the flow hasn't dried up. >> the numbers coming in are larger than the numbers going out, so there's a net balance, a net inflow in favor of immigration. but that net flow is getting smaller, and that's true for the workers from the e.u. and from the workers from outside the e.u.
>> chris colaco came from goa in southwestern india a few months ago. he'd lost his job with a travel agency there when tourism slumped. he set off to join his extended family in the british town of swindon, armed with a portuguese e.u. passport from the old colonial rulers and a vision of the future. >> uh, my hopes. firstly, i would love to take a good job. >> yeah. >> that's--as you see, the recession is there and people are losing jobs. first priority is to have a very good job, stable job. then have a house, uh, and then bring my wife and my kid. yeah. and give them a good life. it's very, very difficult. uh, every day in the morning, i get up and go down to town. i go down to the agencies and when i go there, they say, "at the moment, we are very quiet." so,
it is very, very tough to get a job. >> unemployment tends to be somewhat higher among migrants than the native population. for now, chris has a temporary job and spends time helping his uncle angelo. angelo de mello is a qualified electrical engineer, handy for helping his brother-in-law renovate his house. he, too, has more skills than he's being paid for. by day, he's arranging mortgages in a brokerage, and the recession has slowed business right down. [dance music playing] so, occasional evenings playing music are a welcome distraction for both nephew and uncle. [dance music playing] >> whoo! come on! shake it! >> starting off with my job itself, ok, i take half as much income as i would be taking 3 years ago. so, things are very tight on that end. then, next up, even my music has suffered over--over the last couple of years, where, you know, i used
to play at least a minimum over the last sort of maybe two years, i would do at least maybe 3 gigs a month. that has gone down to sort of one gig a month, so, there's no money coming in there. and from the rest of the family that i put my family, like my brother-in-law, he just bought a house to move into the house. he got the keys in the month of september, and all of us are helping to--to do the house up. and then, he found out last weekend that he lost his job. so, there's nothing secure anymore in this country. >> when angelo arrived in swindon in the southwest, it was called britain's most productive town. it's home to honda and a host of other big employers, and when the economy boomed, it attracted thousands of migrants who now form 10% of the population. >> ♪ alleluia, gloria... ♪ >> goans form swindon's biggest
migrant community. there are 8,000, more than the other migrant groups from the subcontinent, and the largest enclave outside goa itself. some arrive with their families and portuguese citizenship in the last decade. others came via east africa with british passports. [speaking native language] konkani is their first language, but their second is english, which has helped goans integrate into british society. [speaking native language] >> in goa, the medium for instruction in schools is largely english, particularly in the catholic schools. when they come here, they feel able to settle in. they've got the same likes and dislikes perhaps as many other people around. they like to have the odd tipple after work in the pub and--and can go to any restaurant and,
um, eat any food. [speaking native language] >> the polish community has been rooted in swindon for over 60 years. some of the regulars at the polish day center served in the british armed forces in world war ii and stayed on afterwards. [speaking native language] others were transported from eastern poland to siberia and came to the u.k. as political refugees. [speaking native language] >> ohh! [speaking native language] >> they feel their history separates them from the newer arrivals. >> maybe after a few years they'll think differently, but at the moment, i'm a bit sorry to say, but we haven't got a lot in common, you know? because they think differently than we do, yeah. we belong here and we felt it's polish, you know? but
i think we belong here to this country now. >> the younger poles have more choice about where they go. take zbyszek lukasiak back in warsaw. he's often prompted by economic motives and expectations about lifestyle, but in a recession, what will his next step be? >> the world's 107 million migrant workers will play an increasingly important role in global economics as workers follow the money and the job opportunities. but in a recession, they face a life of mounting insecurity. [baby crying] in warsaw, the polish capital,
baby mia now occupies most of her father's time. zbyszek lukasiak had a good job working abroad in i.t., first in germany, then in the u.k. >> i thought i can, you know, try working abroad, try the life there. >> his partner, though, wanted them to bring up their child with the help of the wider family, and he came home to warsaw. worldwide, there's been no mass return of migrants during the recession, though in some countries, the number leaving home recently has halved. but poland has seen a significant return. of the 700,000 who left for the u.k., about 200,000 have gone home. the economy has done better than most of eastern europe and unemployment has risen in the u.k. but in poland, opportunities are still limited. >> i used to buy the newspaper, the polish newspaper, that, in the past, it had all the adverts
for--for jobs. but now, i have noticed that actually, there's nothing interesting now. [mia crying] and it's specialized and unfortunately, in poland, my specialization is not so popular. >> mia. >> so, his partner dorota, the less qualified of the couple, is now the breadwinner in a country where family roles still usually take on a traditional pattern. the lukasiak family helps to illustrate why, despite the large numbers returning home, the polish population in the u.k. is still significant. migration patterns have been circular. polish migrants keep making the relatively short journey. [speaking native language]
if they opt to rejoin the migrant community, there are no guarantees it won't be tough. swindon, in the southwest of britain, has begun to see an upturn in its economic fortunes. after a steep rise across britain a year ago, unemployment has fallen in the town for two consecutive months. but some of the migrants, who constitute 10% of swindon's population, have detected a ripple of hostility. >> even in the music industry, in this day and age, when i go in, i'm looking for a gig. i can go to the barman and ask him, "have you got any--i mean, as a
musician, can i have a couple of gigs here?" the first [indistinct] look at you and they'll say, "no, we haven't got any gigs. we're booked for the rest of the year." if somebody else goes, a friend of mine goes there and asks the same question, they will give them a booking. but they won't give me a booking. >> unemployment has sometimes been blamed on the town's migrant communities, especially the recent e.u. arrivals who can come without a firm job offer and undercut the going rate for the job. >> i think the difficult thing is, we're in a recession now and, um, we're faced with the unskilled, uh, migrant workers that are coming across and, um, you know, possibly that's causing some problems. >> because-- >> they're taking jobs, aren't they? >> i think--yeah, i think it's quite harsh because i tried very hard to look for a job and i can't get one, but then, i still see people who are coming in and getting the jobs that i would have applied for. >> but some see the positive aspect. >> well, there's some--certain jobs that brits won't touch, especially with minimum pay, so,
you need the migrant workers to do it, don't you? >> it's not true that there are a fixed number of jobs in the country and that if, you know, 10,000 migrants come, there'll be 10,000 fewer jobs for british people because when migrants arrive, they're also consumers. they expand demand in the economy. maybe they're filling jobs which were previously vacant because employers couldn't find the people. maybe they're allowing employers to expand. that said, um, in some particular local areas, in some sectors, and particularly in the short term, you know, while the economy adjusts, there may be some problems. >> research into the effects of the recession on migrants around the world suggests that most haven't suffered a hostile backlash. >> there is a tendency to a "we" and "they" reaction. hmm? now, in that reaction, as we know, there's a segment of the population that does have xenophobic and--and racist reactions. we've seen that in elections throughout europe, for example. but i don't believe that that's the majority. i think that the majority
understands that the migrants perform certain functions in society and whether they're high skilled or lower skilled, uh, they can live with that. it's the crisis situation that makes the thing much more tense. >> the recession has had a considerable effect on the amount of money migrants send home from abroad. remittances worldwide are down between 8% and 10%. >> for the recent immigrants, it is important, uh, because very often, they--not very often, but sometimes, they have left their wives and children behind. in other instances, they have aged parents or relatives they would like--they feel the need to support, and remittances do play an important role in this. >> the country which has suffered one of the steepest declines in remittances is poland. the exchange rate has hammered the value of foreign earnings, but there is a view that, in any case, savings sent back might not produce any
permanent improvement in the home economy. >> migration has been an important source of income. on the other hand, in many cases, it's very difficult to translate those remittances into investments back in the home country, and so, the remittances get used for supporting consumption but not helping create a viable domestic economy. >> countries of origin also face losses in social terms. a privately funded organization called "stay with us" has offered money to induce some of the brightest potential migrants not to leave, so concerned are its members about the long-term effect on polish society. >> consequences of these problems you will see probably in the--in the future, not immediately at the moment. so,
we do have problems with, um, children who are, in a way, abandoned here, whose parents are, um, working abroad, and we also have problem with older people who are not taken care of here at home because their children or grandsons, granddaughters went abroad. >> migrants themselves may be acutely aware of the problems back home, but for now, the evidence suggests that they're not going back in large numbers worldwide. their countries of origin may be too distant or the investment in their new lives too great to abandon. >> they have done a lot to come here and to go back, it will be difficult for them to start afresh. they are just helping one another and hoping that things will improve.
>> alastair de mello is a second generation goan in swindon. angelo's son. he hasn't been able to start building his ideal career yet, but in the meantime, he's been rebuilding his ideal car, a calibra. >> it was the fastest accelerating street car built till 1999. i wouldn't want to part with it. yeah. probably sleep in it. [laughing] >> he has dreams of a job in computer animation, but not in india. goa only features as a holiday destination. >> i'm sure i would have preferred it if i actually was born there and i was used to the culture and that, but because i'm from here and i was born here and that, i've learned, like, a lot more than i think i could have learned there. >> with family settled and integrated in the host country, the older generation has nothing to gain, either, by returning to the country of origin. >> i mean, i've lived here for a quarter of a century now, so, it's--i've lived more of my life
here than anywhere else. [speaking native language] >> the older polish migrants have put down deep roots in the u.k., too. their homeland still tugs at their heartstrings, but the new poland is alien to them, and going back permanently isn't an option. >> it's beautiful, it's lovely, and it does sort of, um, make your heart twinge, but if we went there now, i don't think i could. [speaking native language] >> however, the community is keen for the young generation to retain some of its cultural heritage. to balance the polish and the english. >> we are the lucky people. if we want polish food, we have polish food. if we want english food, we got english food. if we want english friends, we got friends. we've got polish friends. but it's a mixture of everything, so, we're the lucky
ones. >> whatever the migrants' considerations, western europe's aging populations need a supply of young workers. the new arrivals, anna and mariusz glod, will stay in swindon for now enjoying their life together and the freedom of living abroad. >> because now, we're expecting, uh, we're expecting our baby, so, we have to decide where the baby will grow up. so, we have to decide if we want to stay here or come back to poland. because of the school, everything. so, we have to think about it. >> migrants have had a long history in britain of filling skills gaps, of bringing new ideas, and bringing a spirit of enterprise and innovation, and, frankly, of doing the jobs which maybe british people don't want to do. um, and i think that's
being true in recent years, and it's still true, even during the recession. they produce. they also--so, not only do they, by their demand, they increase production and therefore output so they contribute to growth. they also contribute to the creation of employment. >> the question for migrants is, how long will the recession last? >> the recovery processes are different. the crisis is much stronger in the developed world than in countries like china or india or brazil or others. so, that this also is performing sort of a function of keeping people at home because they don't see the possibilities-- where they used to go and where they hoped that they would have a better life is uncertain. >> migration's increasingly significant in the globalized economy. by 2010, the world's migrant population will number 214 million, or 3%. they move