Myth #14: "Immigrants Are Stealing Our Jobs!"
Reality: The effects of immigration sparks concerns for many UK citizens as they are seen as a source of competition for jobs and access to public services however, there is a severe lack of empirical evidence* to support this.
In 2010, only 15% of people hired in the UK were immigrants**, that is, 85% of ‘new jobs’ went to British workers. Many employers exploit foreign workers by paying them less than minimum wage and hence, undercutting the value of wages paid (which is illegal). This problem causes a real division within employment and can lead to people thinking that the jobs are being ‘stolen’ by foreign workers.
Many researchers have found that immigration positively affects the UK economy. Migrants fill skills gaps and take on jobs that UK employers can’t fill. A UCL report suggests that immigrants tend to be more highly skilled than UK workers: In 2011, 43% of non-European immigrants had university degrees, compared with 21% of the British adult population. As well as this, migrants contribute much more to the economy than they take out, it was found in a study that a non-European migrant will make a positive net contribution of £28,000 while living here. By comparison, the average UK citizen’s net lifetime contribution in this scenario is zero***.
Without migrants, the UK would struggle as the UK relies on the contribution, labour, skills and resources that immigrants bring.
**Jonathan Portes of the National Institute of Economic and Social