The economic benefits of immigration have been underestimated by the Government, according to the influential think-tank, reports the Daily Telegrapgh this week.
Immigrant workers fill skill gaps and do jobs British workers do not want, says a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr).
The report also revealed that employers and local economies were not reaping the full benefits because many migrants were staying for short periods instead of settling in Britain.
The ippr said local economies benefited because migrants might have different skills that could lead to the establishment of new types of businesses and they tended to be more entrepreneurial.
Immigrants could also expand the market for local businesses by establishing links to their countries of origin.
Analysis of statistics showed that more than a million immigrants came to Britain from the eight countries that joined the EU in May 2004 but about half of those had now returned home.
The report recommends that local councils and the Government ensure they are doing enough to attract and retain immigrants.
The ippr says the Government should ensure that British-born workers receive adequate training and career development opportunities. Local authorities and employers need to ensure that British workers’ wages and job opportunities are not damaged and that firms do not become overly reliant on immigrant workers.
Laura Chappell, an ippr research fellow, said:
“Migrant workers can bring enormous benefits. However, many of these contributions – such as new ideas and ways of working, and an entrepreneurial spirit – may have been neglected.
“Local communities, alongside local leaders, businesses, universities, and central government, need to recognise the variety of benefits that migrants can bring, and plan accordingly.”
The report confirms what is common knowledge in staff strapped sectors such as the Care and Catering industries: namely that Eastern European workers are leaving in droves and non-EU workers are being driven out by tightened Home Office rules.
At a time when Polish and other EU workers are finding that the grass is not greener on this side of the North Sea, overseas migrants from the Philippines, India and Africa are being hounded out of the country by Liam Byrne and his team at the UK Border Agency.
Newly imposed rules, cancelled Work Permits, student visa extension and further leave refusals, retrospective changes to the rules on residency are just a few examples of how hardworking migrants are being ‘shown the door’ by a Government anxious to demonstrate its tough stance on immigration.
It is no wonder that migrants are looking to countries like Canada for a lifeline as the rug is being pulled from under their feet by a series of measures over the last two years.