If you would like to comment on the "Britain's new migrants" programme, first broadcast on Sunday, 24 April 2005, please click here to find the e-mail form.
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Due to the high number of e-mails we get we cannot guarantee to publish every single message we receive, however the e-mails published will reflect the balance of opinion. We may also edit some e-mails for legal reasons and for purposes of clarity and length.
The views expressed on these pages are not necessarily the views of the BBC. The e-mails published will be reflective of the balance of opinion received.
As we have no homes, jobs, doctors, dentists and hospital beds for British citizens, why are any immigrants and asylum seekers being allowed into Britain? Of course, the politicians who let them in do not lack any of the aforementioned.
Peter Martin, Romford, England
The reason that many British people do not wish to take these jobs is because the wages are too low. Too many economic migrants lower wages and working conditions for British people while lining the pockets of big business with bigger profits.
Sam Wright, London
Was this programme another party political broadcast by the BBC on behalf of the Labour Party?
S Tinder, Dereham, England.
Why then, if the facts portrayed are true, is the Government able to try and mislead us all without being challenged? Is not this the time to challenge Tony Blair whilst an election is taking place?
Phil Mcgrath, Ross on Wye, Herefordshire
The programme highlighted important issues but missed out on some. The demography of the country was not mentioned and how we need these new migrants to do the work that is left behind by the ever-ageing towns.
Salman Kurdi, Surrey
I found your programme to be a refreshing insight in the current political agenda. It was balanced and showed how the immigrant debate has been one sided. Many complain about immigrants, but many are also gaining from them.
I never understand why no-one comments on the fact that we have over 1 million unemployed people in Britain so WHY exactly do we need so many migrant workers to come here?
Is the government doing anything to get those on the dole to do the jobs that need doing? It would also be useful to be told how many of the million unemployed are in fact immigrants.
Pam, Milton Keynes
At last. A balanced and well researched program on migration. As a politics student studying immigration it has been increasingly frustrating to see the incredibly biased and racist media, and political, reaction to the topic of immigration. Political and media scare stories, more accurately "lies", have for too long gone unchallenged by anyone. If only all the electorate who respond to the politicians scare tactics would watch this programme. Then maybe people would realise these hard working people deserve, not our racism and mistrust, but help. Not giving out benefits as everyone presumes, but help so that they can do what they want to do - which is work for our businesses and benefit our country as well as themselves. If only half of the people who react with outrage to immigration had the same attitude as the migrants themselves, we would not have any problems in this country.
Phil Wade, Newcastle, England
I saw this programme, but you didn't say about people who made a success. I came to UK ten months ago, and found a job after three days. I'm alarm systems installer, ten pounds per hour and I'm happy. My friend works for NHS. You should tell about those people. Good programme anyway.
I agree with a point I believe one of the Polish migrants made. The blame can't be placed on them. If the government is allowing them to enter the country and not giving them sufficient support in to their first legally paid occupation (even if it is minimum wage) you can hardly expect them not to follow the numerous "agents" placing them in these illegal jobs for a commission. This doesn't mean the number of immigrants should necessarily be reduced, but at least a concerted effort should be made to give the immigrants a useful array of contacts and a scheme to "keep an eye" on their movements during the first six to twelve months from their entry to the country. I'm sure the immigrants will recognise that the benefits of working in this country outweigh the inconvenience of reporting their progress for a short introductory period.
Ben Oates, Huddersfield, England
Why do you not show this alarming programme at a time when people will watch it? No wonder my family can not afford accommodation and my wife can not get employment that would pay enough for even the childcare. The well-off, property-owning majority do not seem to care that this illegal immigration is undermining the living standards of hundreds of thousands of law-abiding and hard-working British people.
Anthony, Ashford, Kent
Enough is enough, we cannot keep on taking migrants into this country, it is not had to work out, we are a small island surrounded by water. This country is like a tin of beans: when it is full you have to put the lid on it. That time has come now, stop it now before it is to late.
Paul Gibbs, Liskeard, Cornwall
It is worryingly naive of the Immigration Minister Des Browne to assert that an Eastern European can work as well in a Bengali restaurant as someone from Bangladesh - he seems unaware that the language in a Bengali kitchen is Bangla. I know of restaurateurs who have tried workers from Poland and the Czech Republic who cannot last the job because they do not understand the language and culture in such a restaurant. If the Government does not recognise such facts then the British economy and the expectations of British people will suffer.
Keith Best, Chief Executive Immigration Advisory Service, London UK
When I was on holiday in Czech Republic I fell ill. I met an English-speaking doctor the same day and received a prescription without being charged any fee. I imagine the many British citizens working in Prague receive the same hospitality. From your programme it is clear that we do not treat our guests with the same courtesy. I think we should do well to remember this other side of the story.
Roger Comerford, Netley, Hampshire
As the daughter of Polish second world war immigrants, I would like to thank you for the wonderful programme you showed tonight. I have been aware of migrants filling jobs nobody in this country wants for a long time, (I've been an interpreter for immigration often enough). What I find upsetting is the viewing population of Panorama is very limited. The individuals on the bus, who were complaining about the Polish bus driver will not have watched your programme, so they do not know no one else will do the job. Never mind, maybe someone from that persuasion will have watched your programme. Let's hope so. I found it fascinating, but then, I find most Panorama's fascinating. Please keep up the good work.
Ewa Stefania Toms, Carharrack, Redruth, Cornwall, England
Since I live in London I can see plenty of these Eastern European, I think it will be pretty fair to say that half of the people who works in the city i.e. in the bank are English and the other half are Eastern European working in cafes, restaurant making food, serving coffee and cleaning toilets - jobs that are often low pay and London is a very, very expensive place to live (a weekly travel card can costs £25 or more), the city needs the coffee and food to keep the energy drive, without the Eastern Europeans the whole city will be asleep.
Why do they not transport people looking for work to other parts of the British Isles that are lacking in labour force? Also, as soon as the identity card system comes in the better.
Anne Yardley, Glasgow
A balanced programme - with humanity and compassion and some hard questions for the politicians. I am a great supporter of the EU and I find it insulting that the EU enlargement became a nice little political game of migration. Furthermore the comments heard on the programme about British people who cannot find work: It is unfair to accuse immigrants when they are taking a job that nobody else wants to do. The Government clearly failed to communicate that these people do not "live on the dole" - at least until they have contributed to the economy - which is more than we can say for some of the British.
Sofia Gk, London, UK
I was very interested in your programme, there are a great many unskilled Polish workers here and I was never sure why they came to be here. I think the British government is giving them false hope that if they come here they will get work. They would be better being honest and just telling them they act come in the first place. I don't think the government realises how strongly people feel about this and they really feel we have enough problems of our own which need sorted out before we flood the country with outsiders.
William Reid, Livingston, Scotland
I don't mean to sound too negative, but I am a German national, and in Germany we are having these problems for many years, having borders with the Czech Republic for example. Workers from Eastern Europe have always been working in Germany for very cheap wages. Being often preferred to Germans by employers, because of this. Although our police makes it hard for illegal workers and they usually catch many of them and the employers. The UK Government should have looked to other countries to predict the outcome of this exercise. I acknowledge that many Eastern European immigrants do work, but its not easy for all of them, and that creates more problems. Also may I say that the Home Office doesn't make it particularly easy even for me to live here, according to the EU treaty I'm not aware that I could claim benefits after one year of employment, for example but maybe I'm misinformed here. But I think to let these countries join should have been much more thought through than it was.
Lucien, London, UK
We should also remember that we are taking skilled workers from these countries where they cannot afford to lose these people i.e. health workers as their training budgets are being cut as they do not have the tax revenues to pay for training. If you are dying in hospital would you care where the doctor came from? You would care if the doctor did not come.
Mark Hanlon, Glasgow
The criminals are not illegal immigrants, God help them, but the employers who take them on, cheat them and don't give them proper payslips. Catch the illegal employers and most immigrants would be able to make a worthwhile contribution to the economy.
A. Topping, Worthing, West Sussex, UK
Economic migrants and political asylum seekers are being allowed to enter this small country in far too great a number, and ridiculously under-controlled by an ineffective government policy. A far more stringent control must be employed.
Social benefits must be drastically reduced for our long-term unemployed nationals unwilling to work, to force them to take any employment including low paid jobs, thus reducing any incentive for migrants to make a bee-line for this already over-populated country.
A deterrent to discourage migrants to England, such as that rigorously enforced in Australia, is the only solution.
A. Robinson, Canterbury, Kent
Economic migrants have helped the economies of many countries including the world's most powerful, the USA. They threaten some people because they are a form of competition. This is probably very healthy.
I think that no-one wants their culture to be overwhelmed by immigrants. Accepting fewer people from more sources should be the answer to that.
Tim Murphy, London, Ex Zimbabwe
I am very unhappy to see the influx of Eastern European migrants coming to this country. I think as a citizens of this country we should be very concerned that England will lose its multi-cultural diversity. My advice to Tony Blair, or who ever wins the next general election is to equalize the number of migrants not only coming from the accession states, but from Africa and Asia.
As a black British woman, I was disgusted to read that the Home Office is simply overwhelmed by the number of visa applications from young Nigerians wishing to come to this country to work. Does the Home Office impose the same restrictions on applicants from Eastern Europe? I agree with Mr Howard on some points he made about have a status quo. But he fails to make clear whether this applies to citizens of the accession states or others. What the politicians should do is encourage more skilled migrants from Africa and Asia too?
Paloma Charles, London United Kingdom
Another typical whitewash of a programme ending with the usual success stories of economic migrants coming good. We are all supposed to believe immigration without upper limits is beneficial to the economy, when in fact it drives down wages creating poverty and unemployment for future generations of British children who will eventually be unable to find work in their own country. Housing is already at a premium with large swathes of Britain already earmarked for housing projects to accommodate the new migrants.
Abbie Watts, Kent
The only people who came out badly from this programme were the hypocritical English people who can't see that the real problem is the vast numbers of white English-born people who abuse the welfare system themselves, and who wouldn't lower themselves to do the jobs these immigrants end up doing.
A Dodd, Edgware, North London
Being an "economic migrant" from Latvia myself (working as a researcher in one of the leading UK Universities), I found the programme rather biased and, in places, misleading. Most of the problems raised are not in any way specific to the new economic migrants. I doubt that immigrants from the Eastern Europe have increased the proportion of illegal job market! What proportion of British casual staff are paid "under the counter"? I doubt that these immigrants have increased the proportion of people sleeping on the streets - I am yet to see a person on the streets of cities I visit most often (York, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol) with an Eastern European accent.
I agree with the Labour minister interviewed that the Registration Scheme offers an incentive for workers to register - the very people who have had a very difficult time in their first weeks and months in the UK will know very well how much better their life would have been if they received government support and benefits. The registration is a prerequisite for these benefits and thus migrants from Eastern Europe have, in fact, more incentive to leave illegal job market than British illegal workers or illegal immigrants working in the UK!
The programme has claimed to investigate advantages and disadvantages to the UK economy and society. However, it has merely briefly mentioned the latter while focussing on the former. What about the shortage of doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers (e.g. railways signalling engineers) academic staff and researchers this country faces?
What about the fact Brits simply do not want to do any low paid unskilled work? One has to be blind not to realise that the service one gets in a hotel in the UK is directly proportional to the number of non-British staff. I though the programme has skilfully balanced on the very line beyond which it would be branded xenophobic.
Oleg Lisagor, York, UK
Since the EU expansion, the new member countries are part of the one European state, and therefore its citizens are not immigrants. One has to realise that the EU's expansion is a fact, and the sooner "old" member states deal with the new situation, the better. In a few years, all EU countries will have to open their work markets and, I believe, at that time they will face similar problems.
Radek Stefanczyk, London
I found tonight's programme very informative as, being born and working here, I cannot get the benefits that these people receive, i.e. unemployment and health costs, or even a council house. According to the council, they are not allowed to house these migrants. After writing to Mr Tony Blair and being passed down to some one else, it was just a waste of time putting forward my worries.
Deborah Bennett, Wincanton, United Kingdom
From the programme it seems that it is the businesses who are to blame for hiring migrants at such low standards. It is not the migrants' fault they want to work. Victimisation of them on this basis appears misdirected.
Tom Booth, Burnley, Lancashire
There are many pros and cons on this issue and its easy to lay the blame at the migrant worker. However, the Government needs to get a grip on those who simply don't want to work and are resigned to living on benefits and contributing nothing to the economy. At least legal migrants want to work and contribute.
I welcome all migrants who are able and willing to make a positive contribution to the economy of the UK. However, it is clearly racist and potentially dangerous that migrants from the EU are not subject to pre-entry clearance and health and security checks.
I favour a system in which migrants are subjected to a points based system as is the case in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Migrants ought to be protected from discrimination and exploitation.
I should like to also mention that the cheap labour pool angers many British workers and is causing division and undermines the employment prospects of unskilled native labour.
A fairer system is needed to eradicate criminality and exploitation and to help both EU and non EU migrants integrate into British society according to the economic needs of the country.
Christopher , London, England
So much for balanced journalism, with the vast majority of the programme spent on those five who got casual work. What a shame you didn't find time to mention how the same freedom of movement/work allowed 250,000 Brits to find building work in Germany during the Thatcher unemployment years. British workers leaving areas of high unemployment and low wages to find well paid work in a strong economy that was Germany at the time is a totally different scenario I suppose?
Andy Stephenson, Aylesbury, Bucks
I am somebody that is very much against immigration. The reason for is the fact that when i was younger I was able to go out for the day and just see English people walking down the street and have no foreign person approach me. Now all I have to do is go to the supermarket and I can guarantee that I'll bump into a foreign person. No matter where you go shops, cinema, public lavatory, public house absolutly anywhere you can guarantee you will bumb into a foreign person or you'll get one of them begging from you in the street. You don't get English people begging from you or if you do its very rare. This country is over-run with immigrants (migrants) and I think that they should all just go back to where there come from because they dont belong here, not one of them. People in Poland would feel exactly the same if the shoe was on the foot and it was the British and the rest of the EU fleeing to their country in those sorts of numbers per year.
Daniel Lingard, Sandbach, Cheshire, England
How dare these new migrants work harder and for lower pay. I don't want to live in a country where the buses run on time and there are doctors on night duty.
I was infuriated by the small-minded remarks made by the two ladies on the bus. If it wasn't for these economic migrants coming to this country to work as bus drivers where would people in this country be? One thing's for sure, they'd be walking and not catching the bus! The view that these people are taking away jobs from the British is nonsense when so many Brits are not even bothered to do jobs such as these and choose to sponge off the state instead!
Adam, Gloucester, England
If we are unable/unprepared to offer immigrants adequate accommodation and wages, etc, we should not allow them to come here. It's sad and absurd that foreign nationals take part in the "black economy" or are unemployed in this country.This unfettered capitalism, apparently sanctioned by government, causes degredation not only to the immigrants but also in the longer term to our own society.
Richard Hayter, Budleigh, English
I thought it was an excellent, informative and an enjoyable programme. I have many friends (aged between 18-24) who are still on the dole; sadly they probably didn't watch this programme.
They all have a problem, they know by living with their parents and by claiming the dole they can avoid work, live comfortably and still enjoy the weekend in the pub! Myself and other friends regularly try to encourage them to find work, but they seem to have no self-esteem.
It was very heart-warming to see Andy enjoying his job and life as a bus driver. I wish some of my mates were as motivated as Andy in seeking work, I also wish they would accept that their first job is not going to be the job of their dreams. One of my friends has a C grade in A-level English language yet he is still on the dole because perhaps the system is too easy on him.
I am aware that their are many citizens out there, who are very pro-active in seeking work and yet still struggle to find work. However I am sure that those who stay pro-active will be successful in their search for work.
P Wright, Newcastle upon Tyne
The three major parties are making empty promises as usual on immigration. Our borders are more porous than ever now we are part of the enalrged EU. Any attempt to stifle legal immigration is bound to increase illegal immigration. ID cards or other regulations are therefore irrelevant. Most of the jobs these immigrants take are poorly paid in UK living cost terms. They are not attractive to UK citizens because the high cost of housing cannot be afforded on these wages.
Derek, Nuneaton, UK
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