Migrant workers are not taking school leavers’ jobs, report finds

09 Jul 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

EU migrants coming to the UK are not affecting the employment chances of British school leavers, according to a report by the Home Secretary's migration advisory committee (MAC).

However, the study raised concerns that if the EU expands further, the situation could change. There are currently eight countries, with much lower average wage levels than the UK, aiming to join the EU.

The report found that UK immigration from migrants originating outside of the EU has added £2.9 billion to public finances since 2001, or an average of £162 per person per year.

People migrating from within the EU have added a contribution of £22 billion or £2,732 per person per year over the same period.

The MAC said there had been a "small negative impact" on how much low-paid workers earned but this depended on which geographical area was looked at. London was the worst affected.

But the report heard from employers who said migrant workers were taking low paid jobs UK people did not want to fill, rather than taking jobs at the expense of British born workers.

The study concluded that one of the main issues that needed to be tackled is the enforcement of minimum wage regulations, with more severe punishments for employers that flout the rules.

MAC chairman, Prof David Metcalf, said: "A typical employer can expect a compliance visit just once in every 250 years and a prosecution once in a million years."

Of the UK’s 13 million low skilled jobs, around 16 per cent are filled by migrant workers.