The Job Competition
Today, the world is not only on the brink of globalization. Indeed it has moved further and enjoyed the thing called globalization. The way people view the movement of people has been more moderate than the way they did in some last decades. Nowadays, people flying to the other part of the world for seeking job and education opportunities are not an unusual thing anymore. In fact, the rate of people mobilization has increased. In the other way, people are more open of the newcomers' existence amongst the local society and they are more open to changes, a part of consequences towards the more boundless world which is unavoidable.
However, some people have the fear that newcomers will take away jobs from them. Philippe Legrain described this fear in his book (Immigrants: your country needs them, 2006) as "One man's gain is necessarily another's loss". Thus, more people coming to the country will mean fewer jobs are available for the locals. This condition is true, but only to certain extent. There are a number of reasons why locals shouldn't even have been afraid of it:
1. The newcomers are taking the different kinds of jobs than what locals do
In the above case, government lacked in identifying the job demanded by locals. Yes, locals do need jobs, but the perceptions that they have towards the blue collar works simply prevent them from taking up the jobs. They do not want to take it because they think it is degrading their life status, not fancy enough, and so on. From here we can infer that the job demands are different. Locals demand jobs with a better pay, better welfare, less physical tasks, and more to the high-skill-based ones. Yet, there must be people who are willing to do the cleaning jobs, to nanny the kids so that the parents can go for work, and to take care of the older people. And it is what the migrant workers are coming for.
An article from The Straits Times ("Foreign workers - out one door, in another?") 23 January 2008) stated that Malaysia is going to cut the number of blue collar workers working in its country by 200,000 to open up more job opportunities to its citizens. However, the blue collar jobs which include maids, construction workers, textile manufacture workers, etc are considered menial by the locals because of the minimum pay, yet very long working hours. In this case, there will be very few citizens who will take up the jobs and businesses are in a severe need of blue collar workers.
And yes, not all of the migrant workers are taking the low-paid jobs. The country needs foreign talents to fulfill jobs that can not be fulfilled by locals. For example, among college graduates in the United States, foreign-born workers are working mostly in the area of information technology and science while locals are mainly working as lawyers and archivists (Ottaviano and Peri, 2005). Thus, the foreign workers are not close substitutes for the locals.
2. The migrants indeed stimulate the increase of country's consumption.
The inflow of migrants will actually create other jobs. How could this happen? More people are pouring into the country means the country needs to produce more goods and services. The increasing demand of goods and services will prompt the producers to increase the supply. And thus, we need more resources for productions. More workers to work in the manufacture, more farmers to plant the food, more shops to sell the goods, and so on. Thus, the fear of "One man's gain is necessarily another's loss" is not justifiable because it does not take into account the assumption that market will automatically adjust due to the changing demand and supply.
3. The existence of foreigners enriches the society perspectives and brings in fresh ideas
People living in different places are experiencing different situations. And when people coming from different backgrounds are put together, the perspectives that they have will indeed bring in more advantages to the society as a whole. An indian engineer and an american engineer may approach a certain problem differently. And with the two of them put together, the possible combination of solutions that might come up will certainly be greater than when they think separately on their own.
4. The immigrants ease the working burden of locals and thus giving more time for locals to achieve better career opportunities
Can you imagine a brilliant mum has to be prevented from chasing after a managing director position only because there is no one to do the household chores? The talent might be wasted only because there is no one is going to take care of the cleaning jobs. Therefore, the role of household nannies becomes important here. By hiring people to do the household chores, she can manage to pursue her career life and in turn increase the family income and welfare. She can open more work vacancies to people and thus the society will benefit at as a whole.
In conclusion, immigrants who come to work in a certain countries will not steal the locals' job simply because they compete in different job markets. And even if they do, immigrants will still create more jobs because they consume goods and services. Besides, because immigrants have a greater willingness to adapt to the new situation, they will spark off the productivity rates. Somehow they set the high productivity rate and every body will try to adjust to the new benchmark. They also tend to be net contributor to the society since they can only claim limited welfare benefits for not being citizens. All in all, immigrants actually benefit the society they live and work in.