Migrant workers in the UK. Articles.

Survey discovers that migrant workers are employed due to domestic workers not having the necessary skills


A survey by the British Chambers of Commerce on the attitude of small and medium sized businesses to employing migrant workers has uncovered the shockingly low opinions many have of the skills, experience and productivity levels of the British workforce.

When asked "What reasons do you have for employing migrant workers?", amongst the responses were:

  • Short supply of candidates with required skills: 25.6 per cent.
  • Migrant workers have a better work ethic: 23.3 per cent.
  • Short supply of candidates with required experience: 19.6 per cent.
  • Migrant workers are more productive than UK equivalents: 17.4 per cent.

Unsurprisingly given that response, 75.8 per cent of businesses said that migration was beneficial to the UK economy. Firms are also now employing a higher percentage of migrant workers since the 2004 accession countries joined the European Union.

Significantly, almost 70 per cent of those surveyed do not believe that the Government offers enough support and guidance to businesses wishing to employ workers from abroad. The most popular tool that businesses would like to see introduced for the helping them to understand a person´s entitlement to work in the UK are ID cards for migrant workers along with a telephone helpline offering advice.

David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
"Migrant workers have helped to fuel the UK economy but it is troubling that so many businesses do not want to employ British workers. The UK´s chronic skills shortages must be addressed by the Government and reform of the school curriculum is needed to ensure that young people enter the workforce with the necessary skills and the right attitude to get on at work.
"Since 2004 workers from the EU accession countries have contributed greatly to the UK economy. Without them it is doubtful the economy would have grown at the rate it has. It is unsustainable, however, to import our way out of the failings of the UK education system. I hope the findings of this survey focus minds and ensure that the Government takes seriously the lack of employable British workers in the jobs market."

Foreign labour row over bigger EU (BBS NEWS Saturday, 30 April, 2005)

The REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) said several sectors would suffer without workers from the so-called "A8 states". It added an estimated 2,500 care home workers in the UK have come from new EU member states. The body is also calling for practical measures to ensure migrant workers are able to find legal employment to prevent them falling into the black economy. Gareth Osborne, managing director of the REC, said there are not enough people in the UK with the right skills to fill the current 600,000 job vacancies. Read more

East European workers top 130, 000 (BBC NEWS Tuesday, 22 February, 2005)

More than 130,000 people from eastern Europe have registered to work in the UK since their countries joined the EU last May, ome Office figures show. The numbers registering fell away towards the end of last year, with 40,000 new workers in October-December compared to 59,000 during May-July. More than half of all migrant workers were from Poland with Lithuanians and Latvians being the next biggest groups. Most worked in hospitality, catering, agriculture or other service sectors. Read more

Abroad experience by TERRY MURDEN (SCOTLAND on SUNDAY Sun 7 Aug 2005)

The Polish embassy in London estimates there are around 120,000 Polish workers in the UK. Many work in agriculture and food and fish processing. Of the 70 workers recently hired by Nichol McKay, 26 are from Poland and the Czech Republic. For Raymond Nichol, hiring foreign labour has been a turning point and he will have no hesitation about hiring more. "They have blended in very well. We cannot see any downside whatsoever," he says. Read more

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