Wisbech migrant workers to lose jobs to locals in BBC documentary headed by Evan Davis

FORMER BBC Economics Editor Evan Davis is presenting a one-off documentary exploring the effects of immigration in Wisbech – by taking migrant workers out of their jobs and replacing them with the local unemployed. The Day The Immigrants Left sees

FORMER BBC Economics Editor Evan Davis is presenting a one-off documentary exploring the effects of immigration in Wisbech - by taking migrant workers out of their jobs and replacing them with the local unemployed.

The Day The Immigrants Left sees locals recruited to workplaces including a potato factory, an asparagus farm, a building site run by a pub landlord and an Indian restaurant.

It also explores whether there is truth in the argument of many, who use the migrant worker influx as the reason for 2,000 locals claiming benefits.

Evan Davis, now a presenter on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, said: "Of course immigration is a topic that arouses complex emotions and unwanted tensions. But that is why broadcasters should tackle it and not avoid it.


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"This programme is an attempt to get beyond the abstract arguments one hears for or against immigration, and to illustrate why it occurs and what it means in human terms."

Since 2004 Wisbech has received up to 9,000 immigrants seeking work - the majority from Central and Eastern Europe. And they've found work, taking up jobs in the fields, the factories and all over town.

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But Wisbech has a major problem with British unemployment, with nearly 2000 locals claiming benefits.

The Day The Immigrants Left explores what happens when some of the immigrant employees are temporarily removed from their jobs and the work given to the local unemployed. Now the town's British workers have a chance to prove they have what it takes.

Eleven British unemployed workers are recruited to go into a range of different Wisbech workplaces, including one of the UK's largest potato companies, an asparagus farm, a building site run by a local landlord and an Indian restaurant.

Moving beyond the workplace, Evan Davis investigates how the town's local public services are coping with the demands of the new arrivals - at one school foreign pupils speak eight different languages and make up nearly a third of the whole school.

As the British unemployed workers get to grips with their new jobs, the documentary gets behind the headlines to examine the facts and dispel the myths around the subject of immigration.

The programme airs on BBC One on Wednesday February 24, starting at 9pm. It is produced by Leopard Films.

James Burstall, Executive Producer of Leopard Films, said: "The aim of the programme is to shed new light on the issues surrounding immigration in the UK today through a balanced and insightful film.

"As one of the most respected broadcasters in his field, Evan Davis is the ideal journalist to explore the sensitive topic of immigration."

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