Each year more than 300,000 people leave the UK to begin a new life overseas. In their place around 450,000 immigrants travel across our borders to seek new opportunities.
But do immigrants adequately fill the jobs, and skills gaps, left behind by those who leave the UK? And do emigrants from this country enjoy a better life overseas than those who stay behind?
Dr John Jerrim, of the UCL Institute of Education, has examined the qualifications and numeracy skills of emigrants who left the UK between 1964 and 2011, and compared them with those of immigrants and UK-born people who have remained in this country (UK ‘stayers’).
His research suggests that the 684,000 highly numerate individuals who left the UK during the years he looked at were replaced by an almost equal number of very numerate immigrants, predominantly from Europe and South Asia.
However, Dr Jerrim calculates that immigration has also added 2.4 million individuals with low numeracy skills to the UK population.
“Although immigration from South Asia has added many highly numerate people to our labour force, immigration from the same region and Africa has added six times more people with low numeracy skills to the UK than those with high numeracy skills,” he says.
“Immigrants account for one in four of the 9.6 million working age adults living in the United Kingdom with low level numeracy skills. Immigration has therefore had its biggest impact upon the bottom end of the numeracy skill distribution; it has led to a significant increase in the supply of low skilled workers.”
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Immigrants add to UK’s adult numeracy problems even though they are more likely to be graduates, study suggests – UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
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