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Analysis of Recent Migrant Workers

The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford has published a new commentary analysing the numbers and characteristics of recent migrant workers in the UK.

The authors of the commentary say that it provides a more in depth picture of how migration has changed over the past few years than can be gained from the quarterly net migration data figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

According to the Migration Observatory, looking at the numbers and characteristics of what it calls ‘recent migrant workers’ (RMWs) who came to the UK over the past five years can provide a useful insight into migration dynamics.

This group of workers is particularly interesting, the report says, because many of the most controversial aspects of immigration, such as its impact on the labour market and public services, are more closely associated with new immigrants rather than established ones.

For its commentary, the Migration Observatory used information from the UK Labour Force Survey to look at RMWs in 2009 and 2014 who were aged between 16 and 64, were born outside the UK, are foreign nationals and in full-time employment.

Its findings include:

  • The number of RMWs in the workforce fell by over 100,000 between 2009 and 2014.
  • There has been an increase in the number of RMWs from countries that were members of the EU before 2004. These migrants tend to be highly skilled workers.
  • The RMWs who came from the Eastern European countries that became EU members in 2004 tend to carry out low-skilled jobs, and there has been a fall in the total number doing this work.

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