East Europeans to lead highly skilled migrants to Britain

March 25th, 2008 - 7:12 pm ICT by admin  

By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, March 25 (IANS) A record number of highly skilled migrant workers will enter Britain over the next four years, but most of them will be from eastern Europe, according to an economic thinktank. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said 212,000 highly skilled migrants will enter Britain this year alone to take up well-paid jobs in areas such as nursing, teaching, computing and information technology.

The total number of such workers will rise to 812,000 by 2012.

It says the majority of these workers will come from the 27-nation European Union, including new member-states such as Bulgaria and Romania. However, flows from Asia and Africa will continue to be “significant”.

Although there are “ever increasing” opportunities for skilled Indians, the report - written for global recruitment consultants Harvey Nash - indicates that the domestic market would absorb them.

“The growth of e-commerce will require an ever increasing number of IT professionals. These employees will primarily be sourced from India. However, as India has a rapidly growing economy and with the onset of outsourcing, these professional may become harder to attract,” the report says.

“The almost universal roll out of computing and internet facilities increased the demand for personnel with information technology skills,” the report says, adding that the population of highly skilled international software professionals has jumped by over 26,000 in the past seven years.

“These software professionals have predominantly arrived from India which has a large number of graduates studying information technology,” the report said.

Ironically, the report comes in the midst of two legal cases pitting groups of Indian-dominated highly skilled migrants against the British government.

Indians who hold Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) visas say a new Points Based System of immigration discriminates against those who are already living and working in Britain.

The CEBR research predicts skilled migrant workers will contribute over 77 billion pounds to the British economy by 2012. In turn, they will support 650,000 jobs through their spending on goods and services. Their contribution, through their work and the jobs they support, will account for 4.7 percent of Britain’s total gross value added.

Launching the report, Harvey Nash chief executive Albert Ellis, said: “Skills are critical to the UK economy, but critically lacking in our current workforce. Far from undermining the UK labour market, migration is vital to future economic stability, helping to fill in the gaps created by older and under-skilled workforces and make an important economic contribution.

“Businesses need to embrace skilled migration, recruit from wider social groups, as well as offer flexible and rewarding working practices for home-grown talent, in order to safeguard their long term and global competitiveness.”

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