Socialist Worker

Report shows benefits of immigration into Britain

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2074

The right wing consensus that immigration leads to job losses and lower wages took a blow last week from a home office report. Immigrants now account for more than four million of the 37 million working age people in Britain.

The Economic and Fiscal Impact of Immigration report argues that migrant workers “have very little discernible negative impact on labour market outcomes for native workers”.

Immigration had pushed the numbers of foreign born workers up to 12.5 percent from 7.4 percent ten years ago.

The report said the increase of migrant workers in the workforce contributed £6 billion to the economy last year.

Migration has also had no significant impact on the unemployment rates.

The report says that evidence suggests that immigration has a slightly positive effect on wages.

It does say that there was a “very modest negative effect” on wage growth among the very unskilled. This is a lower rate of wage increases than in skilled sectors, rather than wage cuts.

Another home office report last week talked about the strain on services caused by migration.

This was a survey of attitudes rather than of evidence. It is not surprising that, as the government makes cuts to public services, people feel that there is a crisis in health and education.

But the survey noted that 13 percent of NHS staff in the north west of England are immigrants. Migrants are not straining resources, but rather working alongside non-migrant workers in providing services.

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