Migrants are better qualified than workers born in UK, says study

34 per cent of migrants in the UK have a post-school qualification, compared to about 29 per cent of local workers

Migrants are better qualified and holding down better-paid jobs than people born in the UK, according to a major international study published yesterday.

Figures show that 34 per cent of migrants in the UK have a post-school qualification; 4.9 percentage points higher than the figure for non-immigrants. They are also better paid than migrants in most other countries and UK-born workers, putting less of a strain on the benefit system, according to research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

A quarter of international students from outside Europe complete their studies in the UK and stay on in the country, said Andreas Schleicher, head of the indicators and analysis division at the OECD and author of the report. "The benefits to your economy from them are great," he said.

His intervention comes at a time when universities fear that visa restrictions will drive international students away from UK universities. Baroness Blackstone, vice-chancellor of Greenwich University and a former Labour Universities minister, said applications to her university were 10 per cent down this year.

"Migrants tend to be better qualified with a higher proportion of degree holders," Mr Schleicher added. "It is a very interesting factor that often gets lost in the public debate about immigration."

Yesterday's report also revealed that poorly qualified UK adults had been some of the hardest hit by the recession in the entire world. Figures showed the employment rate amongst 15- to 29-year-olds without at least five A* to C grade GCSE passes had fallen from 65.6 per cent to 56.9 per cent – a slump four times higher than the international average.

"Adults (without the equivalent of five top-grade GCSE passes) have borne the brunt of the economic crisis and seen a marked drop in their employment prospects between 2008 and 2009 [the years of the study's findings]," said the report. It added that this showed "significant vulnerability for individuals with less education".

The survey also showed that the UK trails behind other countries in the percentage of young people going into higher education, despite a massive increase in the past decade. And, of the 30 countries in the survey, 25 had higher rates of 15- to 19-year-olds in education and 27 had a higher rate of 20- to 29-year-olds in education.

"Even before the Government decided to treble tuition fees and slash funding, UK participation in higher and further education was already languishing near the bottom of the table and they have now put us at risk of dropping even further still," said Liam Burns, president of the National Union of Students.

The report also showed that a major investment in education in the UK between 2000 and 2008 had seen a significant drop in class sizes – particularly in secondary schools where the average had dropped to 19.6 pupils, well below the OECD average of 24.

Case study

Sujatha Santhanakrishnan, 27, from London

"I'm from Madras, in India. I came to work for an investment bank in the UK in 2007. The pay was good, but I didn't find the work rewarding, so I left to do a Masters in comparative politics at the London School of Economics.

"Now I work for a leading economics analysts in London. I pay tax, I pay national insurance and my visa doesn't allow me to collect benefits. That's something that's often overlooked when people think about immigration. I have migrant friends who are bankers and lawyers, paying 40 per cent tax. None of them is a drain on society."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

KS1 Primary Teacher Supply Halifax

£130 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Are you an inspirational, ent...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Maths Teacher required for ...

Lower Key Stage 2 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education and recruitin...

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Group: Being the UK market leader, Ran...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn