Wednesday, July 07, 2004

HR - HR News & Information with UK and EU Focus

HR - HR News & Information with UK and EU Focus


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HR Gateway Editorial

No evidence yet of EU expansion immigrant surge

Brief Details

New figures from the Home Office and Manpower suggest that the mass influx of EU accession state immigrant workers has failed to materialise, with the former claiming the peak in movement is over.


Just over 24,000 economic immigrants from EU Accession States have signed onto the Worker Registration Scheme since May, claim new figures today, although the majority were already in the country when the EU expanded.

The Home Office figures from embassies in the UK and the new EU States suggest that of the 24,000 applying only 8,000 have been made since May 1, the remaining 14,400 applications were from people already in the UK.

David Blunkett, Home Secretary, said today that fears over immigrants flooding into the country were unfounded, in fact, he said that the figures suggest that the numbers registering have peaked:

‘Early indications suggest that the numbers are beginning to fall back: figures for the last two weeks in June are 25% below those for late May and early June. And it is likely that many of those who are registering to work here will be doing so for short periods only.

‘These new EU citizens have been able to travel freely across all EU countries since 1 May. If we had refused to let them work as other countries have done, we would simply have fuelled the problem of non-tax paying clandestine workers,’ he said.

Most have spread around the country blocking up skills gaps and recruitment needs in areas such as agriculture, hospitality and catering. Registrants range from accountants, nurses and teachers to waiters, agricultural workers and hotel porters, he said.

New findings from Manpower also suggest that there has been ‘no significant influx’ of immigrants. A survey of 300 offices across the UK suggests that half reported an increase of less than 10 jobseekers from new member states – 11% reported none at all.

Manpower is predicting that workers will trickle into the country over the next few years, to help plug the skills gaps - 21% of organisations told a recent MORI survey for the employment business they suffered from shortages

Ruth Hounslow, head of public affairs at Manpower said today that employers needed to be flexible and consider a wide range of people for these ‘hard to fill roles’, whomever they may be.

Employment businesses and agencies themselves are having a tough time of it finding staff for clients, according to new figures yesterday. Availability of staff has contracted for the eight months in a row, according to NTC figures.


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