UK

Foreign-Born Men Are Faring Better In Jobs Market Since Recession

13/06/2013 10:01 BST

A major new study has sparked a furious debate by saying migrants are more likely to be in work since the financial crisis than men born in the country.

Despite a drop in overall employment during the economic downturn, male migrants in the UK have had higher levels of employment than "native-born men" from 2007 onwards, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said.

Campaigners for migrants' rights said the findings proved once and for all immigration has a positive effect on the economy.

But Sir Andrew Green, chair of campaign group Migration Watch UK, said: "It is time for a thorough assessment of the impact of immigration on the employment of British workers that this report only touches on.

immigrant jobs

Migrants have fared better in the jobs market since the economic crisis

"The effects may not show up statistically in a labour force of nearly 30 million but the anecdotal evidence is very strong.

"What is clear is that British-born workers have hardly benefited at all from the expansion of employment in the last ten years or so."

Looking at whether the financial crisis reversed progress made by migrants over the past decade, the report said:

"Despite a decline in their employment rates during the crisis, male migrants in the United Kingdom had higher levels of employment than native-born men from 2007 onwards."

The report also found that the UK and Germany are the biggest recipients of migrants fleeing countries most affected by the financial crisis, particular in southern Europe, with numbers almost doubling in recent years.

The OECD also touched on the thorny issue of migration from Romania, saying officially registered emigration was likely to capture only a small fraction of outflows.

This is significant because there has been a prolonged debate in the UK over providing estimates of the numbers of Romanians likely to arrive in the UK next year.

The UK Government has so far refused to provide official estimates as ministers believe they would not be reliable.

Don Flynn, director of Migrants' Rights Network, which campaigns in support of migrants in the UK, said: "OECD findings should allay fears that migration has unacceptable negative impacts on the economies of developed countries.

"With a high level of male migrant participation rates in economic activity and an upward trend in earning levels the evidence shows migration is a dynamic and positive feature of modern economies and ought to be acknowledged as such."

Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, told The Huffington Post UK: "These trends are likely to reflect both demographic trends and the nature of the UK labour market.

"In particular, migrants from within the EU have high employment rates, and labour market flexibility means both levels of immigration and migrant employment rates are likely to be responsive to the economic cycle.

"It remains the case, of course, that there is little or no evidence of any adverse impact from immigration on employment for the UK-born."