The depth of the hole the western economies have dug themselves into is becoming clear. As Correlli Barnett said in his book ‘Audit of War’ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Audit-War-Illusion-Reality-Britain/dp/033034790X we have educated for industrial (and environmental) decline for over a century in the UK. The IPPR Report cited below mentions the National Skills Council for Construction, and they in turn produced a report warning of the skills ‘timebomb’ http://www.constructionskills.net/pdf/news/pressreleases/pr-20080626-constructionindustrywarn.pdf
During the rising tide of liberated ingenuity and development that that has characterised the western economies for the past 200 years, then the importation of workers could be justified to enhance productive capacity and as times became more enlightened, then their education would enhance the body of skills and knowledge available for us and their homelands.
Today we have a totally different situation, where we have let our own skills base atrophy, the importation of skills has to be watched very carefully, as we will now be paying for these skills with borrowed money in many cases and some will be repatriated and lost again to our economies, with little gain in core indigenous skills. see also https://trailblazerbusinessfutures.wordpress.com/2009/01/08/a-unified-political-commitment-of-epic-proportions/