Official report: Net migration flows to the UK will fall

Most migrant workers healthy, don’t represent a burden on NHS 16th April 2009: While the number of migrants coming to the UK is likely to decrease during the downturn, there is no evidence that migrants already living and working in the UK are likely to leave.

This has been revealed by an official report by the Department for Local Government and Communities.

The report also shows that the number of migrants coming from the Accession 8 countries living in the UK may increase over time but potentially at a slower rate than previously anticipated.

According to the report “Managing the impacts of migration: Improvements and innovations”, slowing in the number of migrants from the A8 countries “is in part in response to the current slowdown in the UK, and to other EU countries relaxing their restrictions on the A8.”

Some A8 migrants, according to report, only intended to stay a short time in the UK and have not made as many bonds in society as other migrant groups.
“Many A8 migrants will choose to stay in the UK, particularly if they work in sectors that are relatively resilient to the downturn (such as agriculture and food processing), if they have dependants at school in the UK, or have established family ties. Migrants from the wider world are unlikely to leave the UK in large numbers during the downturn,” says the report.

While recognising the contribution migration makes to the UK economy, the report says there is a need for controlled migration to ensure businesses are ready to compete.

The Government holds that it is important for migrants to be informed about employment law and practice before they come to the UK. In this respect the Government is working the governments of all the new EU Member States, to prepare bi-lingual ‘know before you go’ leaflets aimed at ensuring potential migrants are aware of their rights and responsibilities both before they leave their own country and on arrival in the UK.

So far the Government has produced leaflets in partnership with the Polish, Portuguese, Lithuanian and Romanian governments and benefited from input from the TUC, the CBI and other stakeholders.

“Most migrant workers in the UK are fit and healthy and do not represent a substantial burden on the NHS,” says the report. ince majority of cases of active tuberculosis (TB) in the UK are most likely as a result of infection overseas, the Government will extend for a further 12 months, the pilot programme of pre-entry TB screening for migrants from countries where high prevalence levels of the disease exists.

By Stephen Ogongo

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