Thursday, November 01, 2007

What Jobs Are Migrants Doing?

A brain-box helps us with the numbers- NIESR's Martin Weale

[APOLOGIES FOR ALL THESE POSTS ON MIGRATION- but it is an important issue and Tyler has only just started to look closely at the data]

One of the points constantly made by those who favour mass immigration is that migrants bring us the essential skills that we lack. The IPPR was making precisely that case again this morning on the BBC R5 phone-in.

But how true is it? Sure, there are Swedish MBAs working down on Canary Wharf, and the NHS employs foreign doctors (thus preventing new and expensively trained British docs getting jobs). But many migrants work in bars, clean, and pick lettuces, jobs which don't require the highest skills. Many others don't work at all. So how do the overall figures stack up?

As we now all know, the government's official stats on this are a total shambles. But luckily, those splendid brain-boxes down at the National Institute for Social and Economic Research have dredged through the rafts of guff and come up with the following conclusions from the official Labour Force Survey for Q1 2007:

  • 4.6% of the British population arrived here in the last decade- that's an extraordinary 2.7m people

  • 6% of the working age population arrived in the same period- that's 2.2m people

  • So getting on for 20% of the new arrivals were not of working age

  • Of the 2.2m working age arrivals, 1.4m were working in 2007 Q1; so 0.8m were not

  • Of that 0.8m, 0.2m were full-time students; the remainder were neither working nor studying

  • So of the 2.7m arrivals, 1.1m were neither working nor studying

  • Of the 1.4m workers, 0.6m were working in "professional, managerial, and associate professional occupations"; so all those high value investment bankers, doctors etc comprised just 20% of total arrivals, or a little over 50,000 pa

  • 0.3m were working as "process, plant and machine operatives, and elementary occupations", jobs which could almost certainly have been filled by low-skilled workers from among the native "unjobbed"

  • The remaining 0.5m were in "intermediate occupations", including those famous Polish plumbers.

So just let that sink in. Only about half of the 2.7m who arrived in the last decade are actually working here. The rest are either students (0.2m), or dependent on somebody else, possibly taxpayers.

What's more, those working in the high skill occupations ministers and the IPPR constantly go on about, only actually comprise 20% of total arrivals.

Or to put it another way, for every high skill worker we import, we seem to pick up another four migrants, two of whom don't work at all.

Remember too, that although Ministers tell us we can't control much of this because of EU obligations, two-thirds of immigrants over the last decade have come from non-EU countries, mainly in the Third World (see this blog).

The conclusion is obvious. Over the last decade, Britain has admitted maybe a million people who were neither EU citizens nor high value economic migrants.

We need to stop that.


PS Britain of course is not the only developed country wrestling with this issue. A Desperate Housewife (not Mrs T) recommends we all take a look at this striking vid by US campaigner Roy Beck. It's called Immigration Gumballs, and it highlights the point we made yesterday- many of those who argue for high immigration do so not because they really believe it helps us economically, but as a form of covert and half-baked assistance to the Third World.

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