The persistent refusal of the UK economy to collapse in ruins following the vote to leave the European Union must be rather frustrating to diehard Remainers, but, to the rest of us, statistics showing unemployment at an 11-year low are quite cheering. That more people have jobs in Britain than ever before – 31.8 million – is another reminder of the success of open markets and labour laws that curb the power of trade unions.
Of course, some of the rise in employment is accounted for by people from outside the UK. The number of Eastern European migrants employed in Britain rose by almost 50,000 between July and September. That is testament to the strength of the UK economy, but also raises a question about whether EU citizens are coming to the UK in order to establish residency before Brexit.
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The status of around three million EU citizens in the UK when we leave is still uncertain. Some argue that any EU national resident in the UK on the day we leave should be entitled to stay; others say that right should be conferred only on those in the country before June’s referendum. Theresa May says she must first have assurances about the future status of Britons living elsewhere in the EU before she can say how she will deal with Europeans here.
The Prime Minister’s intention is honourable but there is a risk of unintended consequences, not just by encouraging migrants to enter the UK before the legal position is decided, but also in causing uncertainty and distress for people who live and work here legally.
Mrs May faces allegations from EU leaders that her Brexit policy lacks clarity, charges that reek of hypocrisy given the political crisis that grips the continent. Here, a remark by Angela Merkel was telling. Even as she hinted at changing EU welfare rules to deny benefits to migrants, the German chancellor insisted that the basic right of free movement could not be compromised to suit Britain, “because everyone else will then want these exceptions”. In other words, she admits that voters across Europe want to end the free movement laws their leaders insist on upholding.
Britain alone has the chance to create an immigration system that allows this country to admit and retain the best talent while meeting the public’s demand for controls. Mrs May should waste no time in setting out the principles that will underpin that system, including a clear statement about the status of EU nationals living here today.
When refugees started arriving in Germany in large numbers last summer, many politicians and economists feted them as a solution to a skilled labor shortage, but a survey published on Tuesday shows that only around 1 in 8 have found jobs so far.
Some 1.1 million migrants have arrived in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, since the start of 2015, many fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.
Security concerns and worries about how the record numbers will integrate have boosted support for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
The survey of refugees’ employment status, educational background and values was conducted by the research department of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees and the IAB and DIW research institutes.
It shows that of the refugees who arrived last year and in January 2016, 13 percent are in work. Many newcomers are still in the process of getting asylum applications assessed and so have limited access to the labor market, it found.
Herbert Bruecker of the IAB Institute for Employment Research said experience showed around 50 percent of migrants tended to have found employment after living in Germany for five years, at least 60 percent were in work after 10 years and 70 percent after 15 years.
He said that would probably prove true of recent immigrants, especially as they were being offered more language courses and help from job centers and German people than in the past.
But he said recent newcomers had not arrived primarily to work and were not as well prepared as other groups. The large number of new arrivals also meant more competition for jobs.
Among those who are not in work and arrived in Germany since January 2013, more than three-quarters said they “certainly” wanted a job and 15 percent said they “probably” wanted one.
Of adult refugees, 58 percent had spent 10 years or more at school, in vocational training and at university before arriving in Germany, the survey found, compared with 88 percent of Germans. Just under a third had attended university or a vocational school, while 1 in 10 went only to primary school and 9 percent never went to school.
Almost three-quarters of refugees aged 18-65 said they had gained work experience before arriving in Germany, with 13 percent having been employees in managerial positions.
Around 90 percent of refugees could not speak German when they arrived, a major stumbling block for many employers.
The survey found many of the new arrivals shared Germany’s values – 96 percent agreed there should be a democratic system and 92 percent said equal rights for men and women were part of democracy.
On average, refugees have established contact with three German people and five people from their home countries who they did not previously know.
The survey of 2,349 refugees aged 18 plus was conducted between June and October 2016. The refugees arrived in Germany between Jan. 1, 2013 and Jan. 31, 2016.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Janet Lawrence)
France’s handling of “The Jungle” in Calais showed the world enlightenend French immigration policy
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