Immigrants are net creators of jobs in South Africa, research confirms
The situation of crowds of foreign nationals stuck at the Beitbridge and Komatipoort's Lebombo border posts this week has caused much outcry and concerns about a humanitarian disaster in the making.
Aside from reasonable and rational concerns by government about foreign nationals being allowed back into South Africa as many may be Covid-positive, many argue that they take local employment and should be stopped from entering.
John Maytham speaks to Professor Steven Friedman about the extensive research that shows the argument that they take local jobs is blatantly untrue.
In fact, Friedman confirms, research clearly finds that immigrants are net creators of jobs in South Africa.
There has been study after study, and I can produce lists of academic references to say that the net impact of immigration on jobs and on economic growth is postive.Prof Steven Friedman, Political Studies Department - University of Johannesburg
Many immigrants who come to South Africa are self-employed, he adds.
They are more likely to employ South Africans than to be employed.Prof Steven Friedman, Political Studies Department - University of Johannesburg
While there obviously are a significant number of migrants who are employed, he says, if one is to claim they are stealing jobs two things need to be demonstrated.
You've got to show that there were South Africans who were able to do those jobs and show that there are South Africans who are willing to do those jobs.Prof Steven Friedman, Political Studies Department - University of Johannesburg
Migrants are often prepared to do jobs that South Africans are not willing to do.Prof Steven Friedman, Political Studies Department - University of Johannesburg
He says the number of jobs given to migrants is greatly exaggerated and employing foreign nationals is bureaucratically challenging.
Friedman does acknowledge that there are South African employers that prefer employing Zimababeans and Malawians for example, because they do not wish to abide by labour laws and these employees do not complain, for fear of being deported.
I'm sure some of that is happening but we have never seen evidence of how much of that is happening.Prof Steven Friedman, Political Studies Department - University of Johannesburg
But, he says, then the process is to follow the existing labour laws, rather than to go down the path of another xenophobic outburst in the country.
Listen to Prof Steven Friedman explaining the evidence in this regard below:
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