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Migration and unemployment

Recent research by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) into the impact of immigration on the UK labour market has revealed that increased immigration was not associated with increases in claims for Jobseekers Allowance.

Existing research on the labour market impact of immigration to the UK has generally found little or no impact on average, with at most a generally modest impact on the less skilled. This paper adds to that evidence by using a more comprehensive and reliable data source, and updates the analysis to include the recent recession.

The paper presents initial results on the impact of migration inflows on the claimant count rate using previously unused data on National Insurance number (NINo) registrations of foreign nationals, which researchers regard as superior in a number of respects to data on migrants from the Labour Force Survey (LFS).

In contrast to the LFS, which is a sample survey of the entire population at a point in time, NINo registrations to overseas nationals are complete administrative data on new migrant inflows, largely for employment purposes, giving reliable estimates at much smaller geographies than is possible with the LFS.

The research found no association between migrant inflows and claimant unemployment. In addition, researchers tested for whether the impact of migration on claimant unemployment varies according to the state of the economic cycle, and found no evidence of a greater negative impact during periods of low growth or the recent recession.


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