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Latest figures show rise in EU nationals working in the UK

In today’s blogpost we will comment on the latest rise in the number of EU nationals working in the United Kingdom. For the first time the number of EU workers in the UK has risen past the 2 million mark partially due to its enviable low unemployment rate.

Over the past year employment of UK workers increased 278,000 bringing the total in work number up to 28.8 million whilst the number of non-UK nationals increased by 254,000 raising the figure to 3.22 million. The latest figures will undoubtedly add more pressure to David Cameron as he seeks to lower the number of migrant workers within the UK.

On the back of a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe and the UK, Cameron has traveled to Brussels to try to renegotiate the UK’s role within Europe and is seeking greater control of the nation’s borders. Whilst the government are aiming to reduce both non-EU and EU migration, their proposed target of non-EU migration within the tens of thousands seems a distant pipe dream. Following on from consecutive quarterly increases in net migration figures public backlash has increased pressure on the government to reduce this figure.

Pay thresholds, English language tests and increased scrutiny of applications are some of the latest measures introduced by the government to try to achieve lower immigration targets however, restrictions across most immigration visa categories have proven to be ineffective as non EU migration continues to rise.

The latest efforts have been widely criticised as opponents have recognised that most immigrants are of working age, pay taxes, fulfill current shortage of occupation roles and add numerous cultural benefits to the UK. Others have seen the latest policies as unfair on those migrants who are based outside the EU and are being targeted as the government’s hands are effectively tied when dealing with EU migration into the UK.

Certain Tory party members have stated that migrants have been lured to Britain due to tax credits and benefits. However, research from the National Institute of Economic & Social Research shows that cutting the number of migrants into Britain would hurt the UK economically.

Other figures have showed that the number of people in work rose to a decade high of 31.42 million as wages increased slightly by 0.1% from 1.9% to 2.0%. However, analysts have suggested that UK productivity is still behind what it needs to be and that workers’ wages are not rising at an appropriate rate adding that low consumer price inflation is artificially protecting workers from increased costs of living.

With the EU referendum on the horizon talk shall no doubt increase over the UK’s role within the common market. As numerous arguments both for staying within or leaving the EU gather momentum, the topic of migration looks likely to dominate headlines for the foreseeable future.

What do you think of the latest figures? Is the government overbearing in its latest measures to restirct both EU and non EU migration? Leave your thoughts below.

Westkin Associates

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