Because of our neotenic development, we humans tend to be a charge on the state for the first couple of decades of our lives, but more than repay this in the remainder of our lives. This means that, if a young adult migrates from country A to country B, the economic effect is the transfer (over the long term) of a considerable amount of money from country A to country B. Indeed, some economic historians consider one of the main causes of the huge increase in prosperity of the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to be the very substantial immigration from Europe at that time. (Of course, the forced immigration from Africa in the preceding century would have had a similar effect.)
There are several official statistics showing that this effect of immigration applies in Britain today. Nevertheless, manipulative politicians from Enoch Powell to Nigel Farage convince people that the statistics are lies but their gut reactions are true.
I have been too busy over the last year to spend much time reading the news, but have caught up with a few things over the holidays. One thing I read about is a small spat between two departments of the British government. This would be funny if it were not so tragic.
Universities are overseen by the Department of Business, Industry and Skills (I’m not kidding). Naturally, such a department has no time for the real purpose of universities, seeing them simply as cash cows; the most profitable part of their business is educating foreign students, who can be charged much higher fees.
However, the Home Office (which, ironically, produces some of the statistics I referred to above) sees its mission as reducing or reversing the flow of immigrants. It is terrified that foreign students might wish to take jobs in Britain after their degrees, and contribute to the economy. Hence it wants to bring in a rule that foreign students should return home after their studies, and (if they wish) apply for jobs here from their home countries; if successful they could re-apply for visas.
The problems with this are obvious. I, for one, would almost certainly not have had a career in Britain had this rule been in force at the time.
The effect of such a rule would be that home students would face less competition from foreigners for academic jobs. This might sound good, but would inevitably lower the standard of people appointed to these jobs a bit. This would then lower the international standing of British universities, which would not work in the long-term interests of the existing staff.