THE BLOG

Why a Cap on Immigration Would Damage our Creative Industries

06/11/2014 17:12 GMT | Updated 06/01/2015 10:59 GMT

You don't have to be very politically minded to know that when it comes to British politics there are two things on everyone's mind at the moment: leaving the EU and controlling immigration.

Numerous people have come forward to say there should be a cap on foreigners coming into the country as it's having a negative impact on our economy

I am no expert in politics and the way I see it the whole argument for and against immigration and EU membership is way too complex for any one person to discuss in a single article, but as a small business owner working in fashion there is one area that I haven't heard people talk about in the debate and that's the creative industries.

London specifically is a major destination for creative talent across the world to come and try and make it in their chosen careers. Our creative industries are some of the best in the world, not to mention worth in excess of £70billion a year to the economy and that's thanks to the ability of people from across the EU and indeed the world to congregate here and pool their talent. Any measures to restrict workers coming into the country to work in these fields is going to have a drastic impact on both the industry and the economy.

While experienced creatives certainly do move to London, the vast majority of people come here in order to break into their chosen industry. Anyone working in these industries will tell you that it takes years of moving up the career ladder, usually doing lots of low and unpaid work while you live hand to mouth, gradually working your way up to a decently paid job.

In the modelling industry particularly we see guys and girls from across the world with modelling potential every day, but we make it clear that modelling is a long term career and a brand new model with no experience should expect to spend at least six months to a year developing themselves and can't expect to earn a fortune during that time. The same could be said for actors, dancers, musicians, even journalists and graphic designers; while they work on getting into their dream career they often do need to take low paid unskilled work just to make ends meet. They may even have to apply for benefits, but it's all a means to an end to get a decent, well paid job and put back into our economy.

This fact seems to be ignored in the anti-immigration argument and the problem with some kind of blanket cap or applying a points based system to immigration is that it would completely restrict the flow of highly talented but young and unqualified creatives coming into the country to, at the end of the day, help grow our economy in an industry that is becoming more and more important.

Many people suggest that immigrants are coming here to sit on benefits or take unskilled jobs from British workers, but I work with people from all over the world every day and the vast majority are simply people who have come to the country to make a better life for themselves in a place that offers them that opportunity. Their presence in our country is ultimately a rewarding and beneficial one to us all.

I for one am proud to live in a country where people the world over want to come and be a part of helping to make our creative industries the best in the world and in the process help our economy thrive. Culturally, Britain has given to the world for centuries in everything from music to fashion, art to design. This country is and always has been the place to be for the world's best and brightest to try and make a name for themselves in our creative industries, to suddenly put the brakes on people coming here with nothing to make something of themselves would do nothing but harm our country both economically and culturally.