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The Huddled Masses: Immigration and Inequality Paperback – 3 Feb 2015
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I found the chapter "cradle to grave' on the social rights of migrants particularly interesting. As an NHS doctor I hear a lot about 'health tourism' but see little evidence of it in practice. Seeing data on the relative costs to the NHS of migrants vs local residents was particularly interesting, showing how misplaced sensational headlines about health tourism really are. Long also highlights how dependant the NHS is on migrant workers. The current department I work in is full of spanish nurses: we would have to close beds and shut our doors to critically ill people without them as we do not train enough nurses in the UK to fill posts. Since changes to visa restrictions, there are now fewer migrant doctors who often act as locums, at least when they first arrive in the UK. I now see gaps on the rotas of most hospitals I work in, with shifts unfilled due to a scarcity of locums. Changes to migrant labour rules often have unintended consequences which do not serve the local population.
This book made me question the basis of my own beliefs and assumptions around migration, and armed me with data in the battle against lazy rhetoric. It was an enjoyable read, taking me around the world on my daily commute. I highly recommend it.
The author tackles such highly contested matters as : how many 'immigrants' are there (most people wildly overestimate...); who is a 'migrant', an 'asylum seeker', a 'refugee' ; who makes money out of immigration controls (not least the largely privatised 'migration industry', as well as illegal traffickers); how and where has citizenship become a saleable commodity; the myths (mainly) about 'health tourism'. And more.
To pack all this into 100 pages is quite an achievement. There are also over 20 pages of very useful references. I would suggest that a second edition (it deserves one) might include some bullet-point pages to summarise the most salient facts which might be very handy in the pub or bar!
Change starts with people standing up and questioning incorrect assertions and this book simply and articulately does this.