15:30 GMT24 February 2020
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    Immigrants to the UK tend to be better educated than UK-born nationals and they are most definitely not pushing highly skilled Britons out of the country, contrary to media reports, the UK labour market experts told Sputnik.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Svetlana Alexandrova — On Thursday, University College London (UCL) published a study, which found that between 1964 and 2011 some 684,000 "highly numerate individuals" left the UK seeking higher earnings and a better standard of living, while the number of migrants who arrived in the UK during the same period stands at 2.4 million.

    However, the British daily The Telegraph drew different conclusions from the survey, indicating that immigrants are less likely to work due to their low numeracy skills and as a result will negatively affect wages and unemployment in the country.

    "Numeracy is important but not the only skill that defines qualification; other studies suggest that immigrants, especially in recent years, tend to be better educated than the UK-born and less likely to be unemployed," a senior research fellow with the London School of Economics and Political Science Jonathan Wadsworth told Sputnik, commenting on the article in the British daily.

    Wadsworth, who is also an author of a recent report from the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) that showed that migration has not increased unemployment in the country, stressed that "there is no evidence of a negative impact of immigration on jobs, wages, housing or the crowding out of public services in UK." The report also indicates that immigration is good for both growth and deficit reduction.

    Wordsworth noted that The Telegraph's interpretation of the University College London survey is not accurate. "There is a difference between academic report and the media reporting on it," he said pointing that, essentially, it is a study into the numeracy among immigrants and UK nationals and not an in-depth study of the labor market performance of immigrants.

    Andreia Ghimis, who is a policy analyst for the Migration and Diversity Programme with the European Policy Center (EPC), also believes that statistics have to be looked at and interpreted carefully. According to her research, a typical EU mobile citizen is highly skilled.

    A worrying phenomenon, according to Ghimis, is the fact that "some of these highly skilled mobile EU immigrants do not manage to find jobs according to their qualification, which forces them to accept low-skilled jobs." She emphasized that "serious obstacles to the freedom of movement still exist such as: diploma recognition difficulties, violations of the non-discrimination principle."

    Both experts agreed that trends in British emigration to other parts of the world and rising immigration should not be seen as directly interlinked.

    "Highly skilled Britons are most definitely not being pushed away by low skilled EU mobile citizens as the interpretation of these statistics would suggest," Andreia Ghimis asserted, pointing out that other factors contribute to the coincidence of the two trends such as: labour market needs, the existence of diaspora communities and knowledge of the host country"s language.

    "Emigration of a country's nationals is not a specific issue for the United Kingdom only but for many industrialized countries," Jonathan Wadsworth stated indicating that number of those who leave the country has been stable for the last 20 years.

    A report on migration by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) published Thursday revealed that net long-term migration to the United Kingdom, calculated as the difference between the total number of people entering the country and leaving it, increased by 42 percent in the year ending September 2014.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron promised to cut net migration to the "tens of thousands" by the 2015 General Election. According to the latest UK immigration statistics published on Thursday, the true number is well wide of that target mark.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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