Immigration does not cause unemployment

Study refutes claim that foreign nationals are depriving British-born workers of jobs

There is no link between rising immigration and rising unemployment, independent economists have found – contradicting persistent claims from anti-immigration activists and politicians that an influx of foreign nationals into the UK in recent years has led to more British-born workers on the dole.

The respected National Institute of Economic and Social Research found that there was "no association" between higher immigration and joblessness – even at times of recession or low growth of the sort that Britain is experiencing at the moment.

In fact, the Institute's researchers suggested that the opposite might be the case and that immigration acts as an economic stimulus, pushing total employment levels higher and dole claimant numbers lower than they would otherwise have been.

"Perhaps surprisingly," their economists said, "the interaction between migrant inflows and GDP emerges as positive, indicating that during periods of lower growth, migrant inflows are associated with ... slower [dole] claimant growth than would otherwise have occurred." The researchers did concede that the stimulating effects of migration on the overall labour market at a time of recession are likely to be small.

The anti-immigration pressure group MigrationWatch claimed yesterday that rising immigration from Eastern and Central Europe since European Union enlargement in 2004 had contributed to a surge in youth unemployment in Britain, which is now above 1 million. MigrationWatch released its own report, saying: "Youth unemployment in the UK increased by almost 450,000 in the period from 2004 Q1 to 2011 Q3. Over the same period, numbers of workers from the A8 countries grew by 600,000.

"Correlation is not, of course, proof of causation but, given the positive employability characteristics and relative youth of migrants from these countries, it is implausible and counter-intuitive to conclude ... that A8 migration has had virtually no impact on UK youth unemployment."

However, critics of MigrationWatch pointed out that youth unemployment started rising before 2004, the point when Polish and other former Soviet bloc nationals were freely permitted to enter the UK to work.

And Jonathan Portes, the director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and former chief economist at the Cabinet Office, also argues today that most of the rise in youth unemployment took place in 2008 and 2009, a period during which the number of Eastern European workers entering Britain to seek employment dipped. Government ministers have implied a link between immigration and joblessness. "Controlling immigration is critical or we will risk losing another generation to dependency and hopelessness," said Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in a speech last July.

The Coalition has imposed a cap on immigration from outside the European Union and has pledged to reduce net migration to "the tens of thousands" a year by the end of this parliament in 2015.

The Office for Budget Responsibility, however, has cast doubt on whether the Government will succeed in meeting this goal, with the Coalition's fiscal watchdog estimating that average annual migration until 2016 will be 140,000.

Net migration hit a record high of 252,000 in 2010, although this was mainly due to a sharp fall in the number of Britons leaving the country rather than an increase in immigration.

To analyse the impact of migration on the labour market, the Institute's researchers compared the overseas nationals who were allocated national insurance numbers in an area with the number of people claiming the dole locally.

Case studies: immigrant success stories

"I came with nothing. Now I employ four people" - Datsa Gaile, 39, Northampton

In seven years I have gone from living in a single room, scouring the country for a job – to editing my own newspaper and employing people. When I came to live in the UK in 2006, a friend and I arranged accommodation and work with an agency in Latvia. But when we arrived in London there was nothing. We thought we would have to stay on the streets. I realised I had to do things for myself. I made a CV and got a job. Then I brought my children to the UK. In 2009 I began studying for a BA in business studies at Northampton. At university, I began a paper for the Latvian community. We print 10,000 copies per month.

"I don't believe I'm taking someone else's job" - Agata Wasziewicz-Schmidt Dos Santos, 29, interpreter, Newquay

My husband and I came here in 2008 from Poland. First I worked at Starbucks because I couldn't get work in languages, even though I speak Polish, Portuguese and English. As soon as I changed my email address to a less foreign name, I started getting invited to interviews. I don't believe I'm taking someone else's job, because there aren't many people who speak Polish and Portuguese. I give back to the community, by working in schools and hospitals. My husband owns a martial arts business. He trains other instructors – one of them is an unemployed Brit.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy

Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Colin Firth and Emma Stone star together in Magic in the Moonlight: Woody Allen's 1920s romance

Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artBut what makes a smash-hit art show?
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Latest stories from i100
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 General

March On Cancer™ - Local Marketing and Promotions Volunteer

This is an unpaid voluntary role.: Cancer Research UK: We need motivational vo...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Maths Teacher - Evening session

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: I am looking for a qualified experi...

Teaching Assistants

£50 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Rapidly developing and growing ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week