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Think Tank argue Mass Immigration has been good for the economy

High levels of immigration over the past ten years have been good for the economy, according to a new report from The Work Foundation.

Both inflation and interest rates have been lower as a result, skills and labour shortages have been avoided and the economy has been kept on a stable growth path. Even allowing for a more uncertain economic outlook. The work foundation have urged the government to embrace the case for free movement across the European Union and enable the citizens of Bulgaria and Romania to work in the UK.

The organisation believe their report debunks the myths about the impact of migration on employment and wages.It shows that wages have not fallen because migrants are willing to work for less — including in key sectors such as construction and hotels. The rising National Minimum Wage has protected the most vulnerable and established a strong pay floor in the labour market.

The research findings suggest that there has been no significant impact on unemployment, including youth unemployment. If there are any ‘losers’ they are to be found amongst the ‘workless households’ (families where no working age adult has a job) and amongst an earlier generation of migrant workers.

David Coats, associate director of policy and author of the report, said: ‘The government has had a hard time over immigration not because it has ‘lost control’ of the issue, but because it has failed to tell a compelling story based on consistent high quality information. The official statistics are so haphazard that the government finds it difficult to defend otherwise good policies. 

‘On the available evidence, the best judgement is that the economic case for free movement in the EU is strong and the UK’s ageing population, with fewer young people entering the jobs market, means that a fair and flexible policy of managed migration is essential if the economy is to continue to grow.’

Fewer people came from central and eastern Europe to work in the UK in 2007 than in either 2006 or 2005. The high water mark may have been passed and employers cannot rely on a continued supply of Polish workers to fill labour shortages in the UK. As the economies of central and eastern Europe grow and unemployment falls the pressure to migrate will lessen.

The report also argues that the UK has the right policies in place (liberal product markets and flexible labour markets) to ensure that migrants find jobs quickly. Other countries are less well placed to manage the consequences of mass migration.

The report makes the following policy recommendations:

  • The government must devote sustained attention to producing high quality, consistent data and sharing it across departments and agencies. Too many different data sources on immigration create conflicting statistics and can feed an impression of chaos.
  • All employment rights, including the National Minimum Wage, must be properly enforced to protect migrant workers at risk of exploitation.
  • The government is right to base its managed migration policy on a points system. This is much better than an annual ‘cap’ on the number of migrants to be admitted, which fails to take account of employers’ demand for labour and changing economic circumstances.
  • A more determined effort is needed to tackle worklessness in the UK. There must be comprehensive policies to raise the skills, aspirations and quality of life of the most disadvantaged communities.

 

 

Posted by, Asif Yusuf


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