A battle over migrant labour in the UK

There is a rhetorical battle being waged in the UK as politicos wrestle with how to blame the riots of this past year on someone who is not British. The solution has come from Migration Watch who earlier this week announced research showing that an increase in A8 migrants (A8 is the label for Eastern European migrants) was directly correlated to the drop in youth employment among Britons. A new report contradicts these findings and levels a scathing indictment of the Migration Watch report:

“To try to make our youth unemployment problem look like it is only or mainly an immigration problem – as this report does, by selective use of dates, and a methodologically bogus juxtaposition of aggregate A8 migration with aggregate rise in unemployment – is a profound mistake, and an irresponsible one at that,” Cavanagh said.

You can read the rest at the link below.

Migrants do not affect jobless levels, say researchers | UK news | The Guardian

And then the following report comes from the Government’s own migration advisory committee, linking immigration with depressed economic times:

Non-EU immigration linked to unemployment, says report | UK news | guardian.co.uk

The language choice is worrisome.

The Guardian starts by stating:

It flatly contradicts research from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research published on Monday, which found that even in the recent recession there was no direct impact. (emphasis mine)

Really? Flatly contradicts?

The report “suggests” that for every 100 non-European migrants in Britain 23 fewer Britons are employed.

BUT and its a big one:

“those migrants who have been in the UK for over five years are not associated with displacement of British-born workers”

Where there is a problem is in wages:

The official research confirms that migration has had no impact on average wages but says that it has increased wages at the top of the wage scale but has lowered wage rates at the bottom.

Ah so the nuances start to make that less of a “flat” contradiction and more of a “lumpy” one.

What the report seems to be saying is that the influx of foreign workers tends to benefit employers by depressing wages of the least skilled … this suggests that there is a wages policy issue not a migration issue.

Add to this:

The report from the Home Office-appointed migration advisory committee, however, makes clear that there has been no increase in violent crime levels as a result of recent migration, and the influx of foreign skilled workers may actually have contributed to falling crime levels as they are less likely to commit burglary and other property crime.

In terms of housing, the report estimates that skilled migration from outside Europe will generate demand for an extra 112,000 homes by 2017 – only about 8% of the additional demand for housing within the next five years with – with the effects concentrated in London and other limited parts of Britain.

SO in fact the net benefits to the economy are positive? Alan Travis the home affairs editor at the Guardian was asleep at the switch on this. Either he’s smoking the same hash as the Tories or he’s just not being careful about what he’s reading.

I have also sent a letter to the Guardian asking that Mr. Travis be informed of this problem in his reporting, but I am not hopeful.

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One thought on “A battle over migrant labour in the UK

  1. Great read and a great rant, I also find it quite disturbing and it makes me very very angry!!!

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