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Immigration in the UK: Numbers, Impacts and Policy Debates. Martin Ruhs University of Oxford m [email protected] This talk. UK Immigration policies since early 2000s: opening and closing Numbers: what difference did EU enlargement make? Impacts of EU migration: what do we know?

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Presentation Transcript
this talk
This talk
  • UK Immigration policies since early 2000s: opening and closing
  • Numbers: what difference did EU enlargement make?
  • Impacts of EU migration: what do we know?
  • Policy debates 1:
    • how to reduce growing reliance on migrant workers, especially in lower-skilled occupations?
    • how to regulate highly skilled migration and students?
opening and closing doors
Opening and closing doors
  • “Managed Migration” Policies before EU enlargement: The economic benefits of immigration
  • EU enlargement 2004: No restrictions on EU8 workers
  • EU enlargement 2007: Restrictions on EU2 workers
  • Since 2008: Points-based System for non-EU immigration
  • Since 2010: Net-migration target and cap on skilled non-EU workers(plus more restrictions on family and student immigration from outside EU)
  • Big current policy question: what to do about EU immigration?
slide12

EU8 Migration flows much larger than predicted

(but still less than a fifth of all inflows)

impacts of eu8 immigration
Impacts of EU8 immigration
  • Labour markets
    • Econometric studies find no evidence of significant adverse effects on wages or employment; but qualitative research with employers finds preference for migrants in some sectors; sectoral/occupational effects?
  • Fiscal effects
    • Only one study: finds pos. effects during 2004-09: low wages outweighed by high employment rates
impacts of eu8 immigration1
Impacts of EU8 immigration
  • Public services (provision and consumption)
    • Significant data limitations
    • Research (NIESR 2011) finds that, in 2009-10, the per capita consumption of education, health and social care services of recent migrants was lower than that of the UK-born population
    • Many anecdotes and public debates about some public services (incl schools and hospitals) not coping with pace of change; funding issues
    • EU8 less likely to be in social housing than UK-born; but debates about allocation of limited social housing
impacts of eu8 immigration2
Impacts of EU8 immigration
  • So overall:
    • data limitations and gaps in evidence
    • Employers and migrants clearly benefited
    • Fiscal effects likely positive (and small) but “pace of change” issues
    • Debates and evidence gaps about impacts on specific low-waged labour markets
policy debates 1 eu immigration
Policy debates 1: EU immigration
  • EU8 “problem” for public opinion: Low-skilled; “out of control”
  • EU8 major political problem for Labour Party; Labour Leader says that it was “wrong” to open up to A8
  • Key policy challenge: how to reduce reliance on migrants, esp. in low-skilled jobs  EU8 immigration
  • Immigration and public policy; system effects
    • Supply side approach (Conservatives)
    • Demand side approach (Labour)
  • Access to benefits
  • A2 migration
policy debates 2 students and skilled immigration from o utside eu
Policy debates 2: students and skilled immigration from outside EU
  • Students biggest category in immigration statistics; gvt has restricted student migration but not universities; future trajectories? Length of stay? Impacts?
  • Highly skilled workers: impacts? how to attract and select? Investors and entrepreneurs

 always tension between “protecting” and “globalising” national labour markets; effectiveness of resident labour market test?

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