During the first quarter of 2016, 224,000 EU migrants got jobs in the UK. Just 5000 migrants from elsewhere in the world were added to the UK workforce, whilst 185,000 British people got jobs.
David Davis MP yesterday made an important speech setting out more of the details of these numbers. He said the EU has created a Job transfer mechanism. The UK generates plenty of jobs, but many of them go to people from other EU countries. All the time the Euro austerity scheme keeps unemployment high in large parts of the Eurozone, so there will be people seeking work in the UK and Germany where there are more jobs. Lower wages and worse conditions in some of the eastern parts of the EU also drives more people to come to the UK in search of better paid work.
Over the last year to March 2016 630,000 National Insurance numbers were issued to EU citizens coming to the UK. The government says that some of these people only came for a short stay and so that does not mean there are 630,000 more EU migrants in the year. It is likely to be the case that some stayed here for less than a year, but the government does not know how many or for how long. It does means their official migration figures based on passenger surveys look too low.
The other crucial point is the impact so many people have on public services, wages and homes, even if they do not stay for as long as a year. Whilst here working people need proper housing, access to GPs, school places for their children and a range of other services. We need to expand phone networks, water supply and electricity generation. We need more reliable figures so we can plan provision better.
Out of the EU we could impose sensible controls on EU migration to match controls on non EU migration. On the Out side we don’t want to stop all migration. We want a fair system, that has the same rules for the EU and the rest of the world. It should aim to cut the numbers considerably overall, to relieve pressure on houses, wages and public services. It should welcome people of talent, people with good qualifications, people wanting to invest and build businesses here, and people wishing to study here. Our young people would like better wages and cheaper house prices and rents. The pressure of large scale migration serves to depress lower wages and raise house prices.
Out of the EU we will still be free to travel in Europe , study in any university or College that offers them a place and do business in Europe as we did before we joined and as non EU countries like the USA and Canada can do today from outside the EU.