Migration and employment
Net immigration to the UK has shifted from non-EU to intra-EU migration and risen sharply since the 1990s. With the exception of the period 2009-12, the most common reason for migrating to the UK was work-related, with 154,860 such visas issued in 2013. While the majority of economic migrants arrive to a definite job, others, particularly asylum seekers and some spousal migrants, are not permitted to work. Refugee status is accompanied by the right to work: gaining employment then becomes critical to integration. Employability rates of migrants vary according to country of origin and immigration status. EEA immigrants are most likely to be employed, with activity rates just below 80%; non-EEA employment rates are around 60% and refugee activity rates vary between 20 and 40%. EEA migrants are more likely to be working full-time compared to those born outside the EU.
Jenny Phillimore is Professor of Migration and Superdiversity and Director of the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) at the University of Birmingham.