Scarcity of jobs makes migrants shun Britain and Ireland: OECD

The report also predicts return of temptation to work in Britain for Poles and other Eastern Europeans
01 July 2009. Even as experts are insisting more than seven out of 10 jobs created under Labour have gone to foreign-born workers, a new report suggest migrants are turning away from Britain and Ireland.

Hard to find jobs due to recession is being cited as the primary reason for the phenomenon by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The trend is apparently disturbing, as the migrants are needed to help resolve the long-term problems of skills shortages and an ageing society. As such, the OECD has urged the government not to use the economic downturn as a ground for closing the door to foreign workers.

The OECD report also predicts that temptation for Poles and other Eastern Europeans to work in Britain may soon return. The Paris-based think-tank in its annual “International Migration Outlook” insists the flow of workers to rich countries is expected to fall this year for the first time since the 1980s.

It believes evidence is already there that the economies hit first by the meltdown, including the UK, Ireland and Spain, are seeing lesser number of new arrivals.

Quoting figures, the OECD says the number of workers arriving in the UK and Ireland from "EU 8" countries of Eastern Europe has already dropped by more than a half, compared with last year. Referring to other countries, it says Australia has witnessed more than a 25 per cent decline in temporary skilled migration over the same period. The US too has failed to fill the allocated number of visa places immediately, for the first time in several years.

For migrant workers in recession-hit western countries, the position is grim as they remain concentrated in hard-hit industries, and can face discrimination in hiring and layoffs. Their finances are often vulnerable, the OECD adds.

Releasing the report in Paris, Ángel Gurría, the OECD’s secretary general, said migration was not a tap that could be turned on and off at will. “We need responsive, fair and effective migration and integration policies – policies that work and adjust to both good economic times and bad ones. We also need to ensure that the benefits of migration are shared between sending and receiving countries."

The Conservatives, meanwhile, are insisting the government has failed to deliver ‘British jobs for British workers’. Tory immigration spokesman Damian Green says the government has created British jobs for foreign workers and all the pledges about new job creation are shown to be bogus.

Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas, on the other hand, says: ‘We’ve introduced a flexible points based system which allows us to raise and lower the bar according to the needs of the labour market. This ensures only those with the skills we need, and no more, can come to work in Britain.’  

British Medical Association not for free NHS care to asylum seekers

Check before you travel: Weekend 4th & 5th July