Far from being a drain on the welfare state, migrant workers are making a valuable contribution to the UK economy, as highlighted in a new report published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
The economics of migration says that migrant workers are paying more in taxes than the value of the public services they receive, and claims that migration has had a negative impact on the distribution of jobs and wages.
According to TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber some sectors would even collapse if this pool of labour were removed overnight.
“They haven’t caused mass unemployment or held wages down as some would have us believe. But we do not do enough to protect vulnerable workers, whether migrant or indigenous, from exploitation. If migrant workers are treated fairly and paid a decent wage they can only add to the economy, and pose no threat to the livelihoods of the rest of the workforce.”
In a warning to business, the TUC said that migrant’ workers must be protected from ‘unscrupulous’ employers who it claims may take advantage of their lack of knowledge of rights and poor English.
Treasury figures show that migrant workers are responsible for around 10 per cent of economic growth.