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CEP election analysis

Immigration and the UK Labour Market


During periods of strong economic growth, migration is and has always been important for filling gaps in the labour market. Perceptions do not seem to line up with the existing academic evidence. On balance, the evidence for the UK labour market suggests that fears about adverse consequences of rising immigration in general and EU immigration in particular have still not, on average, materialised. It is hard to find evidence of much displacement of UK workers or lower wages, on average. Immigrants, especially in recent years, tend to be younger and better educated than the UK-born and less likely to be unemployed. Future migration trends will, as ever, depend on relative economic performance and opportunity. But we still need to know more about the effects of rising immigration beyond the labour market in such areas as prices, health, crime and welfare.


Jonathan Wadsworth

26 February 2015     Paper Number CEPEA019

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