'Rational debate' call on immigration

DECISIONS on UK immigration should continue to be based on the needs of the labour market, a leading regional figure from the recruitment industry said yesterday.

DECISIONS on UK immigration should continue to be based on the needs of the labour market, a leading regional figure from the recruitment industry said yesterday.

The East of England region of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the representative body for the UK recruitment industry, called for a rational debate on migrant workers from the EU following on from the publication of figures from the Home Office this week.

The Home Office figures revealed that the Anglia region had the greatest number of migrant workers -64,980 - registering during May 2004 and June 2006, representing 15 per cent of the total number in the UK.

About 40% of migrant workers in the Anglia region were employed in administration, business and management, with a futher 21% working in agriculture.


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The REC believes that these workers make a vital contribution to key sectors of the economy, easing the recruitment difficulties faced by businesses in areas ranging from construction to agriculture.

The REC's monthly Report on Jobs, which is conducted in association with KPMG and NTC research, shows that the UK jobs market is in a healthy state.

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August's report revealed that the number of jobs continues to rise and that the number of permanent placements rose at the strongest rate for two years. This research directly contradicts concerns that the influx of workers from the new EU member states is having a negative effect on the labour market.

Paul Finch, the REC's East of England regional director, said: “All migration needs to be managed. However, there is little hard evidence to suggest that the young dynamic workforce entering the country is causing undue problems. For example, the latest Report on Jobs shows that wages for permanent and temporary work continue to rise.

“The decision by the Government on whether to allow Romanians and Bulgarians to work in the UK from next year [when those countries are due to join the EU] should be made on the basis of the labour market's needs.

“The challenge is to manage the migrant labour supply effectively. Currently thousands of migrant workers are contributing to the UK's tax base through working in the UK.”

Mr Finch added: “If there are local problems surrounding the delivery of public services, these are likely to be because the Government has not responded to the needs of a changing population.

“In fact, migrant workers in hospitals, schools and care homes are having a direct impact in terms of delivering these public services in the east of England.”

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