UK Immigration: Filipino NHS Worker defends Migrants in the UK

Today, Filipino migrant worker Rommel Abellar has expressed his view on the value of migrant workers in the UK. Abellar, is one of the five migrants who has taken part in the BBC programme, “Nick and Margaret: Too Many Immigrants?”. In the programme the Filipino care giver opened up about his cultural background from the Philippines and his successfull career in the NHS. Statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that 11% of all people working in the NHS and community health services are migrants. 

Rommel Abellar: Migrant workers are more focused, hardworking, highly motivated

Abellar, originally from Compostela Valley in the Philippines, now lives in North London with his wife and two children. He moved to the UK in 2001 to join the NHS now works as a team supervisor at a care home specializing on people with epilepsy and special needs.

He commented on the benefits and the reality of migration in the UK:

“Migration brings economic benefits. Let’s take the National Health Service as an example. The minute you arrived at the waiting room, you are far more likely to be treated by a migrant worker, or to boast about it, be looked after by a hardworking Filipino nurse. If not for these migrant doctors, nurses and other staff, the NHS would close. Migrant workers are more focused, hardworking, highly motivated, always come up with fresh ideas and the skills set available to us are topnotch. We tend to raise productivity levels. Most migrants, like myself, are happy to start from the bottom then work our way up. A good number of these care homes now are managed by Filipinos.”

The Commission on Overseas Filipinos has revealed that approximately 250,000 Filipinos are living and working in the UK. According to a study from the University of Oxford, 13% of the total population in the UK were born abroad. There is an estimated 8 million migrants in the UK today, with the highest numbers coming from  India, Poland and Pakistan. Immigration continues to be a key issue in the UK, due to the magnified socioeconomic problems to higher unemployment rates to the government’s net migration target and the strain in free public services like the NHS.

HSCIC Statistics Show Extent of NHS Reliance on Foreign Nationals

According to figures obtained by the Guardian, the NHS employs staff from more than 200 different countries, including Azerbaijan, Zambia, Indonesia, Poland, and American Samoa, according to official figures. This has led to experts forming the opinion that the NHS would be ‘short-staffed’ without migrants.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) figures show from the study that a total of 204 different nations, excluding the UK, supply the NHS with 136,624 workers. The biggest supplier of employees is India with 18,424, followed by the Philippines with 12,744, then Ireland with 12,613 and Poland with 5,507.

 Analysing the figures, Tim Finch, from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank stated:

“People are still attracted to work in the NHS. Without them we’d clearly be short – it would be very hard to replace that number overnight. If the single thread of immigration policy is just to get the overall figure down by any means, you’ve got to look at the consequences of that on the NHS.”

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