Immigrants get better education, jobs than native Brits - report

Immigrants get better education, jobs than native Brits - report
A new report on UK immigration has dispelled old beliefs that newcomers are mostly low-educated workers. A greater number of foreigners get higher degrees and better jobs than native Britons, figures released by the Office for National Statistics show.

Unlike widespread stereotypes, nearly 90 percent of foreign nationals living in the UK speak English very well, the data revealed. 3.6 million foreign nationals aged three and over reported that they "could speak English well, very well or as their main language."

Only 1.7 percent (70,000) of foreign nationals reported that they could not speak English at all.

Twenty-one percent of foreign nationals were employed in banking, finance and insurance, compared with 17 percent of UK nationals. Thirty-eight percent of foreign nationals gained qualifications at degree standard or higher, compared with 29 percent of natives, according to the Office for National Statistics.

“UK nationals were more concentrated in the public administration, education and health sector [29 percent], compared with foreign nationals [23 percent],”
the ONS report showed; the census was taken in March 2011.

Many were found to be in the UK to study, with the proportion among foreign nationals “more than double that of UK nationals: 17 percent compared with 8.1 percent.” The difference, the report said, “is partly related to the younger age structure of the foreign national population.”

Meanwhile, a recent analysis by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) confirmed that immigrants actually give more than they take.

Reuters / Stephen Hird

According to recent opinion polls, cited in OECD latest report, about 50 percent of citizens in European countries and in Canada believe that immigrants contribute less in taxes than they receive in health and welfare services and that "they are a big burden on the public purse," supported by higher taxes paid by native-born citizens.

"Migration represents neither a significant gain nor drain for the public purse. Immigrants are pretty much like the rest of the population," the report concluded.

The ONS report also showed that the majority of both UK and foreign nationals aged 16 and over were "economically active [64 percent and 65 percent respectively] and in employment [61 and 60 percent]".

For those in employment, foreign nationals were most concentrated in professional (20 percent) and elementary occupations (19 percent) while UK nationals were most concentrated in professional (18 percent) and associate professional and technical occupations (13 percent), the ONS findings revealed.

Earlier this week anti-immigration campaigners from independent think-tank Migrationwatch UK said that the number of immigrants arriving in the UK from the European Union was undercounted by half a million over a 10-year period, "a difference the size of Manchester."

Reuters / Paul Hackett

The mistake was discovered by the ONS when they compared the results of the recent census with the population that they had expected to find on the basis of births, deaths and the official immigration figures.
 
This discovery means that net foreign immigration between mid-1997 and mid-2010 now totals very nearly 4 million, according to Migrationwatch UK. Allowing for the 1 million British citizens who emigrated in that period, net immigration comes to 3 million. The revised numbers would show that net immigration reached a peak of 325,000 in 2005 – six times the level of 1997. By 2010 it had fallen to 260,000.
 
“Four million immigrants in 13 years is an astonishing figure – the highest in our history, including the Norman Conquest in 1066. This new information underlines the scale of the task faced by the present government in getting the numbers down,” chairman of Migrationwatch UK, Sir Andrew Green, said.

Migrationwatch has called on the Statistics Authority to insist that the official figures be revised.

“There is no point in burying bad news in obscure documents. That simply destroys trust. It is hard to think of set of statistics that is more important to the public,” Green added.