The BBC reports that the UK's NHS is 'taking away Africa's medics'.
While these are people who voluntarily come to the UK seeking a better life, the article raises some serious questions:
- The BBC claims the doctors and nurses who have migrated to Britain cost the African nations Â£270 million to train.
- They also claim Britain has saved ten times that by not having to train it's own doctors and nurses.
- Yet over the last 5 years Britain has donated Â£560 million towards healthcare in Africa.
So while money is being donated to healthcare, Britain is massively increasing the cost of filling positions in the healthcare system for the same groups of countries.
While I support immigration and strongly believe that the levels of asylum seekers most developed countries accept are pitiful, at the same time it's worth asking the question of whether the right thing to do - not for the individuals wanting to come, but for their home countries - would be to make it harder for certain groups of people that are purely economic migrants to come to work.
One approach might be to give visa's for limited time periods only, or to require a certain number of years of service in their home countries first.
The value of such restrictions might quickly add up to more than current aid levels. Yes, it will cost money in the form of higher education costs to make up for lack of migrant workers, but that is money that will eventually need to be invested anyway for any country that is serious about combatting poverty.
The current state of relying on migrant workers is based on an expectation of continued poverty, as that is the main driving force for people to leave these countries.
What good is aid if you take it back with the other hand?