The impact of free movement of workers from Central and Eastern Europe on the UK labour market
Working Paper No. 29
by Nicola Gilpin, Matthew Henty, Sara Lemos, Jonathan Portes and Chris Bullen
The UK granted free movement of workers to nationals of the A10 countries following the enlargement of the European Union in May 2004. This paper describes the key features of migration to the UK since accession and evaluates the impact of migrant flows from these new EU member states on the UK labour market, building on the initial assessment presented in Portes and French (DWP working paper 18).
Between January and December 2005 claimant unemployment in the UK has risen by over 90,000 and it has been suggested that part of the explanation for this rise is the inflow of migrants from the new EU member states. We have found no discernible statistical evidence to suggest that A8 migration has been a contributor to the rise in claimant unemployment in the UK. The evidence presented in this paper supports the view put forward in Portes and French that overall the economic impact of migration from the new EU member states has been modest, but broadly positive, reflecting the flexibility and speed of adjustment of the UK labour market.
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