Migration Watch claims on immigrants come under fire

The study by Migration watch links immigration to unemployment. But nearly all previous researches have found no such link.


Apparently, youth unemployment is caused by far more routine, structural problems than the Migration Watch claims.

As per a report in Coffee House by Sam Bowman, Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute, Britain’s state education system was criminally bad and getting worse.

The national minimum wage meant that young people could not get their first step on the ladder to gain experience that immigrants may already have (especially in hands-on sectors like construction).

Benefits effectively subsidize joblessness. And business regulations dreamt up in Whitehall and Brussels that might do little to hold back businesses in London can be poison for businesses in places like Merseyside and Glasgow, affecting young people with family ties to their towns far more than light-footed immigrants.

The Migration Watch report focused on a comparison of rising youth unemployment and rising immigration from the ‘A8’ countries – the Eastern European states that joined the EU in 2004.

The correlation between the two was remarkably weak. During the initial rise in immigration between 2004 and the end of 2008, there was no significant rise in unemployment at all.

From 2009, there was no close correlation between the two figures either; both immigration and unemployment have been rising since then, but the rise in immigration had followed the rise in unemployment.

Migration Watch have not even had the guts to stand by their own work.

In fact, there was no evidence to suggest a causal link between migration and youth unemployment, nor was there any reason to think that there would be one.

As per the special report the labour market was not a fixed pie, with a certain number of jobs to dole out to whoever was next in line.

On the contrary, jobs were dependant on education, work ethic and demanded pay, which, as Migration Watch point out, were often stronger among Eastern European immigrants than British youth.

The economy was not a simple set of immediate equations: curbing the number of motivated migrant workers who ask for low pay would not magically make British youngsters suitable for their jobs.

It would probably make most of those jobs weak. Indeed, if there was a problem with migration it was when immigrants do not work and abuse the benefits system, not when they do work and add value to the economy.

There was no fixed pie of jobs. Immigrants don’t create unemployment any more than women entering the workforce in the 1950s and ’60s did. Protectionism of labour was as misguided as protectionism of capital and goods, and won’t do much to relieve unemployment (though it will hurt businesses). 

The government wasn’t powerless to reduce youth unemployment. Coming up with suggestions the author suggested the government should abolish the minimum wage for under-25s immediately; speed up the universal benefit reforms and reduce the benefits rate for under-25s; and slash regulation.

One achievable option, as proposed by the Adam Smith Institute in a policy paper was to allow SMEs to register employees as self-employed under contract, side-stepping a whole host of British and EU regulation.


Brit youth unemployment erroneously linked to migrants

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