William Eichler 18 June 2019

Integrating migrants could boost economy by £7bn, think tank says

A think tank has called for the setting up of ‘local integration funds’ to help migrants find jobs that match their skills as part of a series of proposals to improve integration.

IPPR calculates that reducing migrant over-qualification rates would generate an additional £7bn in economic output per year. A third of migrants in the UK, according to the think tank’s estimates, are currently employed in jobs they are over-qualified for.

As well as bringing economic benefits, the think tank also argues that integrating migrants into the labour market can help build public consent for migration and improve working conditions for migrant workers.

IPPR’s report – entitled Measuring the Benefits of Integration – recommends devolving funding for integration to councils via ‘local integration funds’ that prioritise skills matching.

The funding should be coordinated to align with local economic agendas, the report says. Local residents must also have meaningful input in setting these agendas, such as through local citizens’ panels.

IPPR argues pilot projects for skills recognition and accreditation should also be supported to correctly identify international qualifications and skills, and English language teaching should be fully funded.

‘We are currently wasting the qualifications and skills of hundreds of thousands of migrants working in low-skilled jobs,’ said IPPR senior research fellow Marley Morris.

‘With the spending review on the horizon, investing in initiatives to match these skills to the right jobs should be an easy win for the government.

‘By focusing on bringing down barriers to migrants succeeding in the workplace, the government could help to boost productivity, increase tax revenues, and support migrant integration.’

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