Employment rise 'down to foreign workers'

By Wesley Johnson,Press Association
Sunday 23 October 2011 04:18

The largest rise in employment for more than 21 years was mainly down to the influx of foreign workers, campaigners said today.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of think-tank Migrationwatch UK, said the employment figures were "further evidence that immigration really does affect the job prospects of British-born workers".

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed the number of employed rose by 184,000 to 29 million, marking the largest quarterly hike since the three months to May 1989, and about three-quarters of this increase was due to workers born outside the UK.

Sir Andrew said: "An astonishingly high proportion of the increase in employment is down to foreign workers getting jobs in Britain."

The quarterly rise in non-UK born workers was 145,000, compared with an increase of just 41,000 UK-born workers. The overall figure is adjusted to take account of how the labour market is affected by seasonal factors, such as school leavers starting work in June, the ONS said.

The figures also showed a total of 25.08 million people born in the UK were in employment in the three months to June 2010, down 15,000 on a year earlier.

But the number of people born outside the UK who were in employment was up 114,000 to 3.85 million, compared with the same time last year.

The ONS added the employment rate for UK-born people aged from 16 to 64 was 70.9% in the three months to June 2010, down 0.5% on a year earlier, while the corresponding rate for non-UK born people was 66.5%, up 0.5% on this time last year.

Immigration minister Damian Green said: "This Government believes that Britain can benefit from migration but not uncontrolled migration.

"I recognise the importance of attracting the brightest and the best to ensure strong economic growth, but unlimited migration can place unacceptable pressure on public services.

"It is our aim to reduce the level of net migration back down to the levels of the 1990s - tens of thousands each year, not hundreds of thousands. Introducing a limit on migrants from outside Europe coming here to work is just one of the ways we intend to achieve this.

"Alongside our limits there will be action to get people back to work and provide business with the skills they need from the British workforce - reducing the need for migrants at the same time as we reduce their number."

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