Today, Civitas published a report on the economic and demographic consequences large-scale immigration has on the UK. Civitas is a community of researchers and supporters discovering what strengthens democracy. The report examines the consequences and potential consequences immigration has had and will have on the UK. It predicts the negative implications immigration can have on national identity and democratic governance, as well as the benefits such as a more varied cuisine, exposure to new ideas and a less parochial world-view amongst the native population.
An overview of recent UK Migration
In the last 20 years, migrants amongst the UK population has rapidly grown. For instance, in 1991 4.9 million residents in the UK were born abroad. By the year 2012, migration had risen to 7.7 million, 4.3 million of these were working in the UK. Every year millions of people are recorded as leaving and entering the UK. The majority of those entering the UK are tourists or other short-term visitors. Some are long-term migrants, which is defined as ‘someone who changes his or her country of usual residence for a period of at least a year, so that the country of destination effectively becomes the country of usual residence’.
- Between the years 1991-2012, 10.1 million long-term migrants entered the UK and during the same period 7 million migrants left the UK;
- During this period there was a net flow of 1.5 million UK born nationals leaving the country;
- There is an inconsistency between the inflows and outflows of migrants from New Commonwealth countries. Mainly in countries in South Asia and Africa;
Economic factors are the main driving force behind these various flows. It has been widely reported that immigration increased sharply when Labour came to power in 1997 and relaxed immigration controls.
Migrants found to be better Educated & more Employable
The report found that migrants on average are better educated than UK born natives. The high level of their education is reflected in their occupation. It found that 32% of migrants working in the UK are employed in a managerial or higher professional occupation. In contrast a large number of migrants are working in low skilled jobs. However, it was revealed that the majority of migrants in low skilled work are overqualified for their position. With 33% of them are in elementary occupations and a further 25 per cent in personal service, sales and processing. In October-December 2013 British nationals working in the UK was at 72%.
Employment rates varied amongst the migration population. For migrants as a whole, 69.3% are working in the UK. Employment rates for migrants from particular countries were as follows:
- 85.9% New Zealand & Australia;
- 82.5% South Africa;
- 77.9% EU;
- 72.0% India; and
- 48.9% Pakistan & Bangladesh.
Migration has been found to be beneficial to the UK economy. Entrepreneurial and highly educated migrants bring valuable skills and establish links between the UK and their countries of origin. Many immigrants have a strong work ethic and have high aspirations for their children. Between the first quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2010, the number of UK natives in employment fell by over 700,000. During the same period, the number of foreign-born workers in employment remained virtually constant. The number of UK natives with a job in early 2014 was still below its 2005 peak. In contrast, the number of foreign born workers in the UK has increased by 1.5 million. The report does state that this not prove that migrants displacing UK natives when it come to employment. But do suggest that there is a case to answer.
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