There is a lot of ridiculous hype in the newspapers about the numbers of foreigners taking up jobs in the UK. The Guardian presents some of the figures: In short (subtracting already the number of UK nationals born abroad who work back in the UK):
- Since 1997, 65% of new jobs in the UK for under-65s, have gone to foreign nationals.
There is something else that needs to be taken into account: The large numbers of British citizens who have taken jobs abroad since 1997 should be subtracted from the number of foreigners taking jobs here over the same period, giving us net data. In total, 6 million Brits live or work abroad (10% of us), and the number of British emigrants is increasing (it doubled from 2001, to 107000 people leaving in 2006).
The Guardian says 1.1 million new workers are foreign nationals. Some quick calculations (assuming that every year up to 2006 we have taken progressively less jobs abroad) reveals we could have taken 732 000 jobs abroad since 1997, meaning the net number is 400 000 jobs 'lost' to foreigners.
Yet it is not simply a case of foreigners 'taking' jobs because the economy is more complicated than that. Many jobs are created because of immigration and because of increased economic strength due to immigration. Those countries that have opened their borders fullest to new members of the EU (Britain, Sweden and Eire) have benefited overall, and the government says that such foreigners and their families pay more in tax than they receive in aid.
- The Guardian "Higher figures for foreign workers undermine ministers' claims", http://www.guardian.co.uk/immigration/story/0,,2225600,00.html.
- "UK Immigration, Economics and Pensions" by Vexen Crabtree (2007)
- BBC News 2006 Dec 11: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6210358.stm