Migrants are a threat to current living standards. A huge influx of migrants could lead to a fall in liveability, as a large increase in the population puts a strain on existing infrastructure, whose expansion requires long periods of planning and implementation.
For example, when new condominiums are built to accommodate migrants to Singapore, developers route sewage into the existing network. The increasing frequency reports of sewage backflow into homes and pipe failure are damning evidence that the current sanitation system was not built to accommodate such a large number of users. It is plain to see that the current growth rates are unsustainable.
The healthcare industry in the UK also faces a chronic shortage of beds. This is an alarming indication of hospitals’ inability to cope with burgeoning patient numbers. The situation is no better in Singapore, where management staff have been forced to take extraordinary measure. Patients are housed in all manner of places, in air conditioned tents, corridors and various unsanitary areas. Theses hasty remedies only stem the problem, yet they turn corridors and other holding areas into hotbeds of disease, greatly aggravating the risk of transmission across patients.
The transport sector has perhaps faced the most heat. Due to the increase in ridership, the public transit system schedules more trains operating on tighter timetables. Power conduits and train tracks thus experience heightened wear and tear. The kicker is, the transit system only has a limited capacity to respond to the higher usage, as it takes time to overhaul the relevant signalling equipment, and it can only conduct maintenance during the night.
Indubitably, the considerable influx of migrants has overtaxed important infrastructure, leading to higher rates of failure. The sudden influx also leads to a propensity for quick fixes that fail to address underlying problem of over congestion. Thus migrants threaten the quality of life for citizens.
Migrants are also a threat to the livelihoods of citizens.
Migrants often hail from countries with lower costs of living, and as such are prepared to accept lower wages than the average citizen particularly for lower skilled work. Migrants undercut national workers and worsen unemployment, as businesses, especially those in F&B and retail, who are labour intensive, seek to hire cheaper workers to lower costs. In the longer term, migrants depress wages and make it harder for national workers to compete. A UK worker that demands 13 pounds cannot hope to outbid a Polish worker who only asks for half his wage.
The same situation occurs for a different reason in higher skilled sectors. This time, foreigners who look for work are well educated and tend to have better credentials than locals. Firms are biased towards foreign talent as they are perceived to be more capable and experienced. This leads to discriminatory hiring practices that hurt both fresh graduates and existing workers. For example, employees are retrenched or made to resign in the name of down-sizing, yet the same positions they held were later given to migrants, who were coincidentally from the same countries as the business heads. This issue is pervasive throughout HR departments as highlighted Minister Tan Chuan Jin in a 2013 speech, who reported that some executives felt it was simply more convenient to mount an overseas recruitment exercise in a particular country to get the requisite skilled manpower, rather than to invest in a detailed and time-consuming recruitment search for potential candidates within the local job market.
Migrants workers also remit the bulk of their income home instead of spending it domestically. The money is spent by the household members back home, thus injecting spending into countries like the Philippines and South American countries, and withdrawing income from economies that take in migrants like the US, Germany and the UK. Migrants thus stimulate growth in their origin countries at the expense of economic growth in countries with net negative migration rates.
Hence, it is indisputable that migrants are detrimental to locals, as the locals cannot compete with migrants on the basis of wages and capability.
Migrants threaten the peace and stability of a country.
Migrants are aliens in their host countries, and share nothing in common with the locals. Migrants eat different food, speak a different language, and possess a different culture, values and attitude to life as the locals. Without proper integration into society, this can fester into worrying social problems. Migrants may seek out fellow countrymen and live in self-contained communities with wholly distinct identities. These communities, known as ethnic enclaves, fragment the social fabric as their differences from the locals engenders misunderstanding and hostility. With time, hostility can degenerate into acts of terror and civil unrest. An example of this would be Molenbeek, Belgium, which is under intense scrutiny by investigators as a notorious recruitment centre and operations base for terrorist cells. Cut off from the rest of the country and populated by predominantly Muslim people, Molenbeek has a reputation as a hotbed of radicalisation and a thriving black market for illegal guns and other restricted goods.
Hence, migrants sunder society over cultural differences and pose a security threat to the country.
In conclusion, while migrants bring substantial economic gains to the country, it must be realised that migrants also bring with them a host socio-economic problems. Thus, it is important to restrict the flow of migrants such that infrastructure can accommodate a healthy pace of development and social integration policies, so that migrants can better assimilate into society.