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UK debates migration figures

13 March 20140 comments

David cameron pic_0The British Government has been accused of suppressing research showing that the effect of immigration on jobs is much smaller than its recent claims.

To justify its policy of limiting immigration to “tens of thousands” by 2015, the Conservative government has been using a statistic that says for every 100 non-European working-age immigrants employed in Britain, 23 UK-born people were displaced.

However, according to The Financial Times, new research by the public service showing the so called ‘displacement effect’ is not significant has been shelved.

The newspaper has urged the government to release the new findings.

Net migration to the UK is currently at 250,000. Although the numbers of people coming into the UK are up by about 2 per cent on the previous year, the reason the balance has grown may be more due to the 1.2 per cent drop in people emigrating.

The International Passenger Survey estimates show India as the top country for people coming to the UK with 11.9 per cent of all immigrants.

Second is Pakistan, (5.8 per cent), Poland (5.4 per cent), Australia (5.2 per cent) and China (5.2 per cent).

That has changed a lot since the early-1990s when Germany was the top country. It also shows that most people emigrating from the UK go to Australia, followed by the USA.

In Australia, the federal government is coming under increasing pressure from one of its key supporters to raise Australia’s annual migration intake by more than 15 per cent.

The latest call for more migrants has come from the Australian Industry Group (AIG) which says it has identified an urgent need for more skilled workers citing signs of an upturn in residential and commercial construction.

A 15 per cent increase would see the current migration level rise from 190,000 to 220,000 per year.

AIG Chief Executive Innes Willox says increasing and persistent skill shortages across key parts of the nation’s economy means increased immigration should be considered as a solution.

“The Australian workplace productivity agency has indicated that Australia will need an increase of 2.8 million people with quite specific skills over the next decade to fill the gaps,” Mr Willox said.

“We need to find ways to fill those gaps and obviously we can train our own but the quickest stopgap measure is to import skills, to bring people with those skills into Australia.

“There’s always debate in Australia about levels of migration and the skills component of that is about 70 per cent. So about 70 per cent of that 190,000 are people with skills,” he said.

Mr Willox said the AIG believes the increases in migration levels should be gradual, taking the intake back above 200,000 and further in needed.