No negative economic impact from large-scale Eastern European migration

Rather, the possibility of a small positive impact cannot be ruled out, reveals IPPR 09 June 2009. A section of the working class competing for jobs and services with immigrants during the days of recession may have exercised their right to vote in favour of the BNP’s anti-immigration stand.

However, a paper published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) claims fears of migrants taking away the jobs and cutting pays are misplaced and wrong.

There appears to be no evidence to suggest large-scale migration from Eastern Europe since 2004 has had any substantial negative impact on either wages or employment, economists say.

Rather, they believe the possibility of a small positive impact cannot be ruled out.

The research model found an increase of one percentage point in the proportion of migrants in the UK working-age population would at the most reduce the wages by about 0.3%, said the IPPR’s chief economist Howard Reed.

He adds, "This effect is extremely small. For someone on a wage of £6 an hour, a one percentage point increase in the share of migrants would reduce their weekly gross pay by around 70p – a tiny amount."

The IPPR study says it also found by comparison, leaving school between 17 and 19, rather than at the minimum leaving age of 16, increases wages by about 10 per cent. For someone on £6 a week working a 40-hour week, this would equate to a weekly increase of £24 a week.

The IPPR study, “the Economic Impacts of Migration on the UK Labour Market”, is based largely on data from the Labour Force Survey and Department for Work and Pensions figures on national insurance numbers from 2001 to 2007, as well as a review of the existing literature and economic theory.

The study comes at a time when "British jobs for British workers" protests were renewed this week outside power stations in Nottinghamshire and Kent.

Claiming their conclusion is "optimistic", the authors insist if the downturn in the UK economy is particularly bad compared with other countries, it is possible that many workers who came to Britain from Poland and the other eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 will return. There is some initial evidence that this is already happening.

Home Office migration figures published this week showed a 47% drop in the number of economic migrants coming to Britain from Poland and other eastern European countries as the recession began to bite in the last three months of 2008.

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