Last week a report by University College London's Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration was published that suggested the United Kingdom is a net gainer from European immigration. There is a good summary of the report offered by Robert Peston. Of course there are some questions left unanswered by the report and in a later piece Peston identifies them.
What I found both predictable and infuriating is that when the report was published BBC News yet again turned to Migration Watch to comment on the report and spin their all too predictable narrative. Migration Watch's Sir (soon to be Lord thanks to the PM) Andrew Green seems to be on speed dial for BBC producers when it comes to anything to do with immigration. Green is hardly ever challenged but simply consulted as a self-appointed expert on the subject. This was true on the Today programme when they put Green up against one of the report's authors.
So I thought it was time to remind myself of the contribution made by immigrants to this country and here are three people you would be hard pushed to condemn as foreigners sponging off the state. In fact they have made significant contributions to the country which welcomed them and in which they have made their home.
Mr Alp Mehmet MVO
Arrived from Cyprus 1956 aged 8. Educated at Parmiter's Grammar School in London's East end and Bristol Polytechnic. Immigration Officer (1970-79); Entry Clearance Officer Lagos (1979-83); Diplomatic Service (1983-2008), serving in Romania, Germany and Iceland (twice). Ambassador to Iceland (2004-2008).
Dr Ahmed Ibrahim Mukhtar DL FRCP
Retired consultant paediatrician and former Medical Director of an NHS trust in Northamptonshire. Member of the governing council of the University of Northampton. Associate of the General Medical Council. Member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal. Born in the Sudan and educated Khartoum and Edinburgh Universities. Resident in the UK since 1972.
Mr Hazhir Teimourian
A writer on Middle Eastern history and politics. He was born in 1940 in the Kurdish region of western Iran and came to the UK in 1959 for his higher education. He stayed on and has spent the last 35 years in journalism, mainly with the BBC World Service and The Times newspaper.
As I say, three people, all first generation immigrants, none from an EU country, who have clearly made admirable contributions to the UK.
There is just one thing that puzzles me. All three are members of Migration Watch's Advisory Council and these brief biogs come from MW's website. Mehmet was put up by Migration Watch to rebut the UCL report on the BBC News at One which is what led me to find out a little about him. I find it somewhat baffling that people who have both received from and given so much to this country are so committed to preventing others from having the same experience.
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