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MIGRANT WORKFORCE SMALLER AND MORE HIGHLY SKILLED THAN FIVE YEARS AGO

Financial Times, 30/03/2015, p.1 & 3, Helen Warrell

Fewer migrants have come to Britain to seek work during this parliament than under Labour’s final term in office, and they are ever more highly skilled, new research by the Oxford Migration Observatory for the Financial Times has found. Madeleine Sumption, Director of the Migration Observatory, said it was striking that despite increases in net migration in 2014, the size of the migrant workforce was “considerably smaller” now than five years ago.

The data, which focus on full-time working migrants, demonstrate that since the coalition took office there has been a rise of 40 per cent in jobseekers from recession-hit nations in the “old EU”, such as Italy, Spain and Portugal. This has been offset by a 35 per cent fall in working migrants from the eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004, and a drop of more than a quarter in those arriving from beyond Europe.

Ms Sumption said that the growth in working migrants from old EU countries, who are more likely to pursue professional jobs, had helped to raise the skill level of those arriving in the UK. “While it’s difficult to predict migration flows, it’s clear that what happens to migration from old EU countries could have a significant impact on the overall skill profile of the new migrant workforce in the future,” she said.

Read more on the Financial Times website (opens new window)

SOME WELCOME TRENDS ON BRITISH IMMIGRATION

Financial Times, 31/03/2015, p.12

Leader: “…A new report by the Oxford–based Migration Observatory shows that if the Conservatives were to abandon their fixation with an annual net target they could present a more positive account of recent trends.
The Observatory’s analysis of the flow of migrants into the UK labour market reveals a nuanced picture. It shows fewer migrants came to Britain seeking work in the course of the last five-year parliament than was the case in Labour’s final term of office between 2005 and 2010. The enlargement of the EU in 2004 saw a surge in eastern European migration to Britain. But since the 2010 election, the overall migrant inflow has slowed markedly. In the past five years, 117,000 fewer working migrants arrived in the UK than was the case during the previous five years — a decrease of 16 per cent.
The second revelation is that since 2010 the UK has not been hit by a surge of low-skilled eastern European migrants as Ukip likes to suggest. Eight eastern European states joined the EU in 2004. Over the past five years, the number of working migrants from those states dropped by 35 per cent compared with the numbers coming between 2005 and 2010. By contrast, the number of migrants from “old” EU states — notably Italy Spain and Portugal — shot up by 41 per cent. Admittedly, these changes are largely due to the UK recession which dissuaded eastern Europeans from coming to the country, but not people from southern Europe.
None of this should detract from the justifiable concerns many Britons have on immigration…This growing migrant population will put pressure on the government for a long time to come in order to meet the needs of communities for adequate housing, school places and medical services.
But the critical point is that the British economy depends on the UK attracting substantial numbers of highly-skilled Europeans to work in the City, the corporate world and the scientific community. The Migration Observatory’s data show that the recent flow of migrants from “old Europe” have precisely the kind of senior and skilled backgrounds that UK business and industry needs…’

Read more on the Financial Times website (opens new window)

UK IMMIGRATION – THE FACTS

Financial Times online, 29/03/2015

The FT’s Helen Warrell speaks to Madeleine Sumption of the Oxford Migration Observatory about new research on migrant workers in the UK labour force.

Watch again on the Financial Times website (opens new window)

RADIO: CROSSFIRE, BBC RADIO SCOTLAND FM

29/03/2015, 08:32

Professor Stephen Fisher of the University of Oxford discusses his latest assessment of the likely outcome, in terms of both share of vote and of number of MPs, of May’s general election.

Listen again on the BBC website (opens new window)

(32.51 on clock)

UNIVERSITIES NEED TO PLUG INTO THREAT OF CYBER ATTACK

The Guardian, 31/03/2015, p. 40, Lucy Ward

Martyn Thomas, visiting professor of software engineering at Oxford University, comments on cybersecurity at universities.

Read more on The Guardian website (opens new window)

BRITAIN’S LEADING PRIVATE UNIVERSITY ‘BECOMING A MOUTHPIECE FOR FOSSIL-FUEL INDUSTRY’

The Independent online, 30/03/2015, Tom Bawden

The University of Buckingham has been criticised for appointing an anti-windfarm campaigner, Dr John Constable, to set up a new energy institute. Britain’s leading private university already has links to former Chancellor Lord Lawson’s climate-sceptic lobby group, the Global Warming Foundation (GWF). Professor Myles Allen of the University of Oxford, criticised institutions such as the University of Buckingham and GWF for “spending so much time hunting for reasons not to worry about climate change at all that they have little energy left for a serious discussion about what to do about it”.

Read more on the Independent website (opens new window)

RADIO: BREAKFAST, BBC RADIO OXFORD

30/03/2015, 08:28

Iain McLean, Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford, discusses the general election campaign in Oxfordshire, noting that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are both targeting the Oxford West and Abingdon seat.

Listen again on the BBC website

(01.27.55 on clock)