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Immigration/Emmigration

Three million UK workers are now foreign: As PM haggles over EU small print, the number of employees from overseas soars by 254,000 in a year

  • 120,000 Eastern Europeans have gained employment in Britain in last year
  • That includes 50,000 from Romania and Bulgaria, 39,000 from outside EU
  • Foreign workers now make up almost one in nine of the British workforce
  • David Cameron making no attempt to restrict free movement in EU talks

They included more than 120,000 Eastern Europeans – among them almost 50,000 from Romania and Bulgaria.

It means there are now more than two million EU nationals working in the UK. The number from outside the EU also rose last year, by 39,000 to 1.18million. This brings the total foreign workers in Britain to three million – making up almost one in nine of the workforce.

The number of EU workers in Britain has rocketed by 215,000 in just 12 months. They included more than 120,000 Eastern Europeans – among them almost 50,000 from Romania and Bulgaria (stock photograph)


 The figures emerged as the Government revealed 31.4million people are in work in Britain – the highest since records began in 1971 – including 28.28million UK nationals. The unemployment rate has fallen to 1.69million, a rate of 5.1 per cent – the lowest for a decade.

The influx of migrant workers was revealed as the Prime Minister prepared to fly to Brussels today to secure his EU ‘deal’. In the wake of the figures, Eurosceptics denounced his negotiation as an ‘irrelevance’ which would do nothing to curb record levels of mass migration.

Despite immigration being the public’s number one concern, the PM has refused to seek any limits on the principle of free movement in his EU negotiation.

 The figures overshadowed preparation for the crunch EU summit which will take place today and tomorrow.

Last night, European Council President Donald Tusk warned there was ‘no guarantee’ that EU leaders would be able to do a deal on Mr Cameron’s reforms. The PM continues to face hostility from some Eastern European states and the French.

But if he can finalise his deal by the close of the summit, he is expected to fly home and immediately declare Britain’s historic referendum will take place on June 23. On a day of drama yesterday:

The influx of migrant workers was revealed as the Prime Minister prepared to fly to Brussels today to secure his EU ‘deal’. In the wake of the figures, Eurosceptics denounced his negotiation as an ‘irrelevance’ which would do nothing to curb record levels of mass migration


 Mr Cameron held 40 minutes of talks with Boris Johnson but failed to secure his backing for the deal;

  • A ‘stressed’ PM also held meetings and phone calls with a string of junior ministers in a bid to win them over;
  • France launched an audacious bid to stop his renegotiation deal being permanently protected in EU treaties;
  • Eastern European states continued to object to his plan to restrict migrant access to tax credits and child benefit;
  • It emerged the full details of how the curbs will work will not be known until after the expected June 23 referendum, leaving voters ‘in the dark’;
  • Government insiders insisted Mr Cameron could walk away from today’s talks if his deal is ‘watered down’ too much.

No 10 has made no attempt to restrict free movement of workers as part of the talks. Instead, Mr Cameron has settled for restricting migrants’ access to tax credits in the first four years they are in the UK.

Tory MPs called the changes ‘feeble’, and the Government’s experts at the Office for Budget Responsibility said this will make little or no difference to the numbers pouring in.

Eurosceptics argue that, when the Chancellor introduces a £9 Living Wage, Britain will be even more attractive to Eastern European workers.

The Labour Force Survey yesterday showed the number of people working in the UK has increased by 532,000 in the year to 2015’s fourth quarter, of which 254,000 are non-UK nationals.

The number of EU nationals working in the UK was up by 215,000 in a year, including 78,000 workers from Poland and other ex-Eastern Bloc countries that joined the EU 12 years ago. Some 48,000 Romanians and Bulgarians were also added.

The figures show the total number of foreign workers in the UK is now 3,216,000.

The total number of EU workers has risen by 840,000 to a record 2.036million since Mr Cameron came to power in 2010 pledging to cut mass migration to ‘tens of thousands’. Last year, the number of non-EU foreign workers increased by 39,000 to 1.18million.

Prime Minister David Cameron speaks about his EU reform plans

Tory Eurosceptic Peter Bone said: ‘These figures show the PM’s renegotiation is completely irrelevant. People are coming here from the EU and Eastern Europe in particular for jobs … Many of the people coming in from Eastern Europe are taking jobs that could go to young British people who are on the unemployment list.’ Vote Leave’s Matthew Elliott said: ‘It’s crystal clear the trivial renegotiation won’t restore one iota of control over our borders. Even the PM’s own advisers have admitted that simply tinkering with the benefit system won’t affect immigration flows.’

The figures align with predictions made by Migrationwatch that there would be up to 50,000 arrivals a year from Romania and Bulgaria after the two countries were given open access to UK jobs in 2014.

At the time, ex-Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable said: ‘This idea of waiting for tens of thousands of people pouring off the planes from the Balkans was just a scare story.’

Alp Mehmet, of Migration Watch, said yesterday it was ‘vitally important the inflow of EU workers is brought down’ to cut overall net migration.

Government officials said the PM had worked tirelessly to secure a deal which addresses issues of most importance to Britons. Aides said that since the election he had visited 20 of the 27 other EU members and held talks with the leaders of every other country at least once.

He has also held talks with the heads of the EU Commission, Council and EU Parliament more than 25 times.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3452008/Three-million-UK-workers-foreign-PM-haggles-EU-small-print-number-employees-overseas-soars-254-000-year.html

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