The history of London is an intertwining of immigrant networks that have created a multicultural society like few others on Earth. The current mass migration from war-torn Syria and so-called refugee crisis is a large-scale version of something London has seen throughout history. Are the network of refugees actually the answer to London’s economic issues rather than a problem? The refugees’ call answering London needs might be closer than you think.
Whilst it is accepted that refugees and migrants can cause a short term strain on the economy, it is widely accepted that they are beneficial to the economy long-term. Indeed almost every business network in London will be made up predominantly of first, second or third generation migrants to the city.
A high proportion of migrants risking their lives to escape Syria are lawyers, teachers doctors, and nurses. Their skills can be used by companies and services in London and the UK.
International migrants adjust to their new environment, they often take menial jobs, delivering letterbox leaflets, working in kitchens or cleaning jobs. Many will work in construction whilst they learn better language skills and get to understand the London way of life.
With rent prices so high in the centre, many will seek to live in the suburbs and neighbouring counties and might approach a company specialising in loft conversion in Essex or a construction firm working on large scale building projects or housing developments.
For migrants that have skills in computer programming and internet skills, there is a burgeoning market for skills in London and Essex. A company working in web design in Loughton might quickly find employment for a skilled programmer from Syria.
Skills for self-employed professions such as photography might also be an area that refugees and migrants could find work. Not only could web savvy people build specialised websites for photographers, they might have photography skills and set up as a professional wedding photographer in Essex.
As new language and working skills are picked up and an understanding of local culture grows, they can move on to more skilled local jobs for example retail, fashion or working in a telephone answering call centre in London.
Though education, they can become qualified in UK Law and take specialist jobs in areas of interest. They may become partners in a firm of family solicitors in London, or spread to other cities, perhaps working for a marketing agency in Bristol or specialising in will writing in Devon.