160,000 jobs 'lost to migration'
An extra 160,000 jobs would have been available for British workers over five years if no migrants from outside the EU had come to the UK, the Government's immigration advisers have said.
One British job is lost for every four migrant workers who come to the country from outside the EU, the Migration Advisory Committee (Mac) said.
Anti-immigration campaigners hailed the report's findings as evidence of the pressures caused by immigration, but critics warned it was no "gotcha" moment confirming immigrants take jobs from British workers.
The Mac report showed an increase of 100 foreign-born working-age migrants in the UK was linked to a reduction of 23 Britons in employment between 1995 and 2010. Between 2005 and 2010 alone, the number of working-age migrants in employment rose by 700,000 and displaced 160,000 British-born workers, it said.
Average wages remain the same, the Mac said, but the highest wages get higher and the lower wages get lower.
Asked if there would be 160,000 extra jobs for British workers if there had been no immigration from outside the EU, Professor David Metcalf, the Mac's chairman, said: "Yes. That would be a reasonable way of putting it."
It follows a contrasting report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (Niesr) which said the number of immigrants coming to the UK had little or no impact on the number of unemployed. However the Mac report added that the impact and displacement of British workers does not last more than five years and migrants from the EU have "little or no impact on the native employment rate".
The Mac was asked to look at the impact of immigration from outside the EU and how that information was used in official impact assessments of the Government's migration policies. Prof Metcalf said the current system, which uses GDP to look at the impact on both UK residents and migrants, "can't be the right way of thinking about this". It would be better to consider the impact on the economic well-being of the resident population alone, he said.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "Controlled immigration can bring benefits to the UK, but uncontrolled immigration can put pressure on public services, on infrastructure and on community relations.
"This report makes clear that it can also put pressure on the local labour market. We thank the Mac for its work and will now consider the report more fully as we work to regain control over our immigration system."