Numbers of 'better skilled', 'better educated' immigrants in the UK are rising, finds Centre for Economic Performance


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The Centre for Economic Performance (London School of Economics) has published research into immigration and the UK labour market, finding more than 14% of the working age population, were born abroad.

It showed immigration to the UK has been rising since 1995. Immigrant inflows to the UK have been falling since 2006, but because immigrants are staying longer, the stock of immigrants in the UK is continuing to rise.

Immigration has fallen in each of the last three recessions, but these falls have been successively declining. By early 2012, 14.5% of the UK's working age population had been born abroad, up from around 8% in 1995. There are 5.9 million adults of working age in the UK who were born abroad.

Immigrants are younger and better educated than their UK-born counterparts, on average. The most recent immigrants are better educated still. Around 10% of all migrants are in full-time education. Immigrants are over-represented in the very high-skilled and very low-skilled occupations.

Immigrants are arriving from many more countries than in the past. Poland, India and China are currently the countries that contribute the biggest proportion of new arrivals.

Immigrants, on average, are less likely to be in social housing than people born in the UK, even when the immigrant is from a developing country. Only immigrants who became UK citizens are neither more nor less likely to be in social housing than UK-born individuals.

And there are potential economic benefits associated with migration, especially to fill gaps in the UK labour market - where there are shortages of workers, whether high- or low-skilled. While there may be costs to particular groups, there is little evidence of an overall negative impact on jobs or wages.

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