The list is long. So how unimaginative do you have to be to think that restrictions upon immigration should be ahead of all these?
But what’s going on here is not just a failure of imagination. There’s also an ignorance of hard facts too. Most research shows that the impact of immigration upon wages is minute - and insofar as there is an adverse effect at all, it falls upon previous immigrants more than native workers.
But let’s ignore all this. Let‘s grant that immigration does reduce the wages of less skilled workers - and there is some evidence for this, albeit a small (pdf) temporary effect (pdf).
Does it follow that restrictions upon migrants would then improve wages of unskilled workers?
No. To see why, think about Wiki, who sews knickers in Underworld. What would happen if she went back to her native Poland?
The immediate effect is that Carla Connor would replace her with a British worker. So it looks as if restricting immigration is good for British workers.
But what would Wiki do back in Poland? She might well make knickers there, at a lower wage than she did in Underworld. These knickers would therefore be cheaper than those made in Underworld. Buyers of Underworld’s knickers would therefore switch to buying Polish knickers. Faced with this fall in demand, Carla would have to cut production and lay off a worker.
So British workers wouldn’t be any better off. Wiki’s taking a British job whether she works in Wetherfield or Warsaw. This is factor price equalization.
So, let’s be clear. Restrictions on immigration do not significantly improve wages or job prospects for British workers. If you really want to make life better for workers, there are countless better ways of doing so.
The fact that demands for immigration restrictions are so high on the political agenda, - ahead of much better policies - is a sign of just how politics panders to brutish irrationality.