Posts Tagged ‘employment’

Don’t promise what you can’t deliver on immigration

26/08/2011, 11:21:00 AM

by Matt Cavanagh

Yesterday’s ONS figures are a reminder of the risks of politicians promising what they can’t deliver, particularly on an issue as emotive as immigration.

Before the election, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats said immigration was out of control; afterwards, they said they would cut it dramatically. Neither was true.

The figures reinforce how stable immigration has been in recent years: non-British immigration is estimated at 455,000 in 2010, compared to 437,000 in 2009 – and broadly stable since 2006:

Long term immigration, emigration, and net migration of non-British nationals

Source: IPS, ONS Migration statistics quarterly report, August 25 2011

The Government’s chosen target is not non-British immigration, but ‘net inward migration’: total (British and non-British) immigration, less total (British and non-British) emigration. As the above graph shows, non-British emigration is falling, and while British emigration has risen slightly over the last year, overall emigration remains down – with the result that the Government’s target of reducing net migration below 100,000 has moved further from their grasp since the election:

Long term immigration, emigration, and net migration of all nationals

Source: LTIM, ONS Migration statistics quarterly report, August 25 2011

Yesterday’s figures suggest the interim immigration ‘cap’ on working migrants from outside the EU had negligible effect in 2010. The Government has made further changes since relating to non-EU migrants, including closing Tier 1 (highly skilled) to all but the wealthiest migrants in December 2010; a number of changes to Tier 4 (students) in March 2011; and a permanent ‘cap’ on ‘Tier 2’ (skilled) workers in April.

The latest quarterly figures to June 2011, published by the Home Office yesterday, should show these changes starting to have an effect, and indeed there is a slight fall in people coming from outside the EU for work (down 2.7% compared to the year ending April 2011), almost all in Tier 1 rather than Tier 2. This fall is offset, however, by a rise in those coming from outside the EU to study (up 3.5% compared to year ending April 2011).

More significantly, any reduction in numbers coming from outside the EU is likely to be offset by the continuing rise in those coming from inside the EU, particularly from Eastern Europe – a category of immigration which the Government cannot control.

Yesterday’s figures show that immigration from Eastern Europe rose from 52,000 to 71,000 in 2010 – and emigration back to Eastern Europe fell from 47,000 to 31,000, adding further to overall net migration.

In terms of the number of Eastern Europeans in work – as opposed to new arrivals – recent Labour Force Survey figures confirm that, after being stable between 2008 and the first quarter of 2010, numbers have been rising steadily since the election:

The changes the Government has made to immigration from outside the EU may well have more effect in the year to come – particularly on students and highly-skilled migrants.

But the rising trend in immigration from the EU looks set to continue. More recent figures from the Department of Work and Pensions, included in yesterday’s ONS report, show that for the year to March 2011, over 187,000 National Insurance numbers were allocated to Eastern European nationals, an increase of 24% on the previous 12 months.

In terms of employers’ future plans, a survey this week from the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development suggests that the number of private sector employers intending to hire migrant workers in the next quarter continues to rise. The CIPD survey also suggests that, if the ‘cap’ has any effect in future months, it is unlikely to deter employers from hiring migrant workers – it is more likely to make them switch to hiring migrants from inside the EU.

Ministers need to be more honest with the public about how far overall immigration numbers are really determined by government policy, rather than economic factors, and employer preferences. Ministers also need to avoid reacting to their difficulties with the net migration target by trying to clamp down further on those categories of migration which are the most economically valuable – and instead, start thinking about how to harness immigration to promote employment and growth. Conservative ministers in particular have consistently argued that welfare reform and immigration control are the answer to youth unemployment and worklessness. But with youth unemployment back over 20%, and NEETs at a record high, they need to look towards other policies if they are to prevent the creation of another ‘lost generation’.

Matt Cavanagh is Associate Director at the IPPR

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Life, love and loyalty: in defence of nepotism

06/08/2011, 11:00:13 AM

by Michael Merrick

Relationships are a good thing. Even disciples of Hobbes and Rousseau will admit as much. The social sphere is, by its very nature, social. That is, it depends on relationships. And the more vibrant and diverse the relationships, the more vibrant and diverse the social sphere.

The more positive and virtuous those relationships, the more positive and virtuous the social sphere. This means that any resurrection of the social sphere as a safe and positive place of interaction (which includes economic interaction) must in some sense build upon an appraisal of the relationships we share with one another.

Nepotism is an important part of this drama.

Yet whenever the issue is discussed, particularly by those who place themselves on the left of the political spectrum, we are given naught but murky tales of powerful upper-class types jealously seeking to protect their social and professional circles from penetration by working-class oiks, often by treacherously bestowing opportunity and privilege solely upon their unworthy and less than capable nice-but-dim nephews and nieces.

Understandably enough we consider this an injustice. We shout loudly, we hold our banners and hone our slogans, we turn the pursuit into one of universal social justice for the working classes and wrench up the rhetoric against these evil nepotistic enemies of the people.

And in so doing, we get it entirely wrong. We get our accounts of human relationships wrong, we get our account of society wrong, and we get our account of nepotism itself wrong. We deny what is good and to be cherished in human relationships, in preference of a cold atomism only possible within a sanitised concept of the social sphere.

For nepotism is the natural by-product of healthy relationships. It is the urge and instinct toward fraternity. It is the outward manifestation of solidarity, the mortar that binds society together as a complex construction of personal and social relationships.  It is the external expression of love and loyalty, the social and filial fulfilment of duty and responsibility.  It spreads opportunity horizontally and vertically and it strengthens bonds of friendship, family and community.

Camaraderie spreads through it, comradeship flourishes within it, solidarity courses through its veins. (more…)

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Counting the graduates in the dole queue, it’s clear that our system isn’t serving the young, says Claire French

21/08/2010, 10:00:02 AM

Last summer, tens of thousands of young people fresh out of school went straight onto the dole. Student loans were paid late, occasionally months after the autumn semester began. By all accounts, it’s going to be worse this year. With increased numbers of applicants and an under-cut of 10,000 university places by the coalition government, there is severe competition.

Having graduated this summer, I too am feeling the pressure of swathes of graduates leaving university with a respectable degree and no job. Finding myself with no other option than signing onto job seekers allowance while looking for employment, I find myself wondering how we have reached a state where so many young people – having attended university or not – having no other option than to look to the welfare state for help?

Higher education would supposedly become more accessible and universal after the introduction of top-top fees near the beginning of the Labour administration. In reality from applying for university places through UCAS to landing their first job – many young adults are now fighting harder than has been fought before. The threat of soaring youth unemployment is leading to what some commentators call the “lost generation”.

With the projected number of young people missing out on a university place this Thursday standing at around 150,000, it is time to seriously question the new Labour 50% university target. Educating the future workforce to a highly competitive standard is obviously important for the economy and our global position. At this time of austerity, is not feasible for hundreds of thousands of young people to be signing on to job seekers allowance because they cannot afford to take a gap year, or because they leave university with no other option.

The further education system over emphasises the importance of a university degree. The Labour party continues to predict that 40% of jobs will be filled by graduates by 2020. Those who are less than taken by the idea of being indebted suffer from the current lack of apprenticeships and unskilled work. 

An undergraduate university degree is no longer a foot-in-the-door in today’s tough labour market. As areas of the private sector begin to advertise for more graduate jobs than last year, the public sector is tightening its belt – with huge redundancies being made and cuts to department budgets around the country.

The Guardian last week reported that only “36% of final-year students expect to find a graduate-level job this summer”. High numbers of graduates from some institutions are left out of work and not in education for more than six months after leaving university (up to one in four).

For many university leavers, a degree is not enough to land a paid, graduate-level job. Employers expect candidates to have skills and knowledge that is best demonstrated through previous work experience. For individuals without well-connected parents this can be a battlefield.

Internships – an increasingly popular form of learning in the professional workplace – pose a number of problems, foremost because many remain unpaid. Firstly, the majority of placements are located in London. Secondly, the nature of ‘the internship’ is to provide free labour to an employer in return for training. For applicants who need to pay for travel, accommodation and other outgoings this poses a problem. Campaigns such as Intern Aware and Internocracy work for fairer conditions, including a wage for interns.

Worldwide, the outlook for people aged between 15 and 24 years old is bleak. The global youth unemployment rate is sitting at 13%, 81 million people in real terms. It’s a big number that we need to address, and the current system just can’t cope.

Claire French is an aspiring journalist and writes at

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