Migrants working in the adult social care sector contribute £4.4bn to the English economy annually, according to figures released to mark the One Day Without Us (1DWU) event.
Now in its second year, 1DWU celebrates the contribution to the UK of migrants, many of whom say they feel unwelcome since an escalation in pro-Brexit rhetoric after the 2016 referendum.
The figures, from the New Economics Foundation thinktank, show that if migrants in the sector stopped working for one day there would be a £17m shortfall.
Saturday’s event is an opportunity for UK residents and migrants to stand together. Many migrants work in the NHS and social care sector and this year’s 1DWU includes a particular focus on them.
More than 60 events including rallies, communal meals and mini-festivals are planned under the slogan “Proud to be a migrant. Proud to stand with migrants.”
1DWU was launched last year in an attempt to make the debate about migration more positive amid increasing levels of hate crime, which has left many migrants feeling threatened.
Organisers are concerned about the exodus of migrants from the NHS and social care sector, with the proportion of EU staff leaving the NHS rising significantly since 2016.
Matt Carr, the lead organiser of 1DWU, said: “Migrants make a huge contribution in so many ways to life in Britain, not least in the adult social care sector. But anti-migrant rhetoric, coupled with the uncertainty that the government’s approach to Brexit has unleashed, is leaving many people who have come to the UK to live and work feeling unwelcome and marginalised.
“I want to live in a country where we treat everyone, wherever they come from, with decency and respect. For 1DWU across the country, people are coming together to send a clear message that we reject the politics of hate and division.”
Cities including Cardiff, Portsmouth, Hastings, Dumfries and York will host events. Various organisations are backing 1DWU including Open Britain, the TUC and Royal College of Nursing.
Nearest tube – Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Nearest Railway Station – Elephant & Castle
Buses from Elephant and Castle – ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45