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When the Immigrants Leave: Dispatches

When the Immigrants Leave: Dispatches

Mon, April 8th, 2019

Monday 8pm – 8.30pm, Channel 4

Under the Directive 2004/38/EC and EEA Regulations, the United Kingdom enjoys the right to free movement of workers. This right forms one of the four freedoms of the EU, of which the UK is currently a member, but not for much longer.

As the EU has expanded, and in particular the 2004 growth, the UK has accepted a large number of immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, Cyprus and Malta. Research conducted by the Migration Policy Institute for the Equality and Human Rights Commission suggests that between 01 May 2004 and 30 Sep 2009 some 1.5 million workers migrated to the UK from the new EU member states. With the influx and efflux of people and the freedom to move it is estimated that the number of nationals only increased by 700000 in that period. Many Eastern European migrants form a circular pattern but it was impossible to capture the entire figure due to the Labour governments policies of the day. The EU growth in 2007 from Bulgaria and Romania was not treated the same and restricted to certain skill-sets, students, self-employed and required trades. Nevertheless, the 3.7 million workers from the EU countries form an essential part of the UK’s economy.

The EU workers in the UK provide manpower across a variety of sectors, particularly social care, healthcare and agriculture. In this Dispatches, Seyi Rhodes travels across the UK to find out how the Brexit vote has affected the sector’s. The democratic decision has directly plunged the number of net migration from the EU, resulting in the severe possibility of an acute labour shortage. Rhodes speaks with foreign nurses and the difficulty they face in the NHS, struggling with hostility from patients they feel they need to resign. He also meets hospital management who now find themselves struggling to meet recruitment targets. Armed with his research, Rhodes questions just what life will be like without the EU migrants once the UK leaves the EU.

Rhodes is perfectly placed to explore the situation, an exemplar researcher he has worked on Dispatches since 2001, prior to that he learned the trade with the BBC. In addition to his television work he has worked on The Wright Stuff, Panorama, Explore and since 2008 has been a regular reporter on Unreported World.


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