UK ‘Reaping Benefit’ of Immigration

Press Association (UK), May 7, 2008

Eastern European immigrants to the UK have a higher employment rate than British citizens, a report reveals.

An average 84% of workers from eight countries that joined the EU in 2004 have jobs—9% higher than the UK-born average, according to Business for New Europe (BNE).

Its report suggests the impact of the EU’s biggest-ever expansion four years ago has benefited the UK and Eastern Europe equally.

Since 2004 just over one million migrant workers have come to Britain from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Estonia.

But nearly half have already emigrated again, leaving an estimated 665,000 people from the eight nations currently living in the UK.

The BNE report contains articles from 22 business leaders in companies including ArcelorMittal, Tesco, Sainsbury, BT Group and Microsoft.

They collectively hail EU expansion as a good thing. Roland Rudd, BNE chairman, said: “This expansion has transformed the accession countries, galvanised the European Union and also presented fresh opportunities for existing member states.

“Britain, and businesses here, are reaping the benefits of an enlarged EU which has created a single market of 500 million consumers.”

The report said very few of the Eastern European migrants claimed state benefits—only 2.4% of those registering for NI numbers since 2004 did so to claim benefits.

And, on average, immigrant workers put in 46 hours a week—four hours longer each week than UK-born workers.

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