About our sponsor
This report was made possible by the kind support of The Ahluwalia Family Foundation. Here, the foundation’s founder entrepreneur and philanthropist Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia explains why he supported this project.
Immigration is critical to the success of the UK. We attract many of the brightest, most innovative and entrepreneurial people from around the world. And right now, there is a real need for in-depth and evidence-led research to make people listen to the positive case.
I say this because I am an immigrant. I came to Britain as a refugee with my family at the age of 13 in 1971, fleeing the brutal regime of Idi Amin in Uganda. Britain gave us sanctuary when many others would not, and I continue to be thankful every day for the welcome and opportunities this country has given me and my family.
Immigrants have an innate desire to better their lives through business and enterprise, not just for themselves, but for their families, communities and adoptive countries. As a youngster, I saw it in the London markets in the 1970s, and four decades later, I’m still seeing it today.
But why, when it’s so risky? Because, while starting a business can be hard, it pales in comparison to the risks immigrants take moving thousands of miles to a different country and culture. It’s that life experience, tenacity and bravery which gives immigrants the courage to go it alone in business.
The fact that ambitious, talented immigrants aspire to come to the UK to start a business should be no surprise. I truly believe that Britain is unlike anywhere else in the world. It has a stable political system, the best universities on the planet, and remains one of the top places to live, work and found a business.
It attracts the best and brightest employees and entrepreneurs because, compared to so many other nations, Britain is an open, tolerant, modern country; a land where you can make your own opportunities and live a happy, safe and prosperous life. This is something we should all be proud of.
One of the things I was struck by in this research was many how immigrants have gone on not only to start retail and manufacturing businesses but also to found high-tech startups, from AI to fintech. We all benefit from the contribution these businesses make – socially, culturally, and economically in the amount of jobs created and taxes paid, and after Brexit, we will need them even more.
Many people still recognise me from founding Euro Car Parts, but like so many other immigrants I cannot stand still, and today I run Dominvs Group. We are truly a family-run real estate, hotel and hospitality business. But it’s the thousands of people – our teams – who make my businesses successful.
I’ve worked with and employed people from all over the world. Hard working, ambitious and driven individuals have been integral to our success, and many of them have been immigrants. I know how much effort immigrants put in, how much determination they have, and how desperately they want to succeed.
This report boldly presents the positive case for immigration, and I hope it presents a solid foundation for an evidence-led debate on immigration for years to come.
Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia
Chairman, Dominvs Group
Founder of The Ahluwalia Family Foundation