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European Workers Plug UK Skills Gap


Gaps in the UK labour market have led to over 345,000 eastern and central European workers relocating to Britain since April 2005, according to government figures.

Along with Ireland and Sweden, Britain gave immediate access to eastern Europeans to work in the UK in order to fill job vacancies and improve the nation’s skills pool.
Most migrants were from Poland (204,895), followed by Lithuania (44,715) and Slovakia (36,355).

The Department of Work and Pensions commissioned the study after the number of benefits claimants increased by 90,000 last year, but the report found that migrant workers had not contributed to this rise.

Immigration minister Tony McNulty said the figures, “Vindicated the success of the UK's policy in opening up our labour market. Accession workers are continuing to go where vacancies exist, helping to fill the gaps in our labour market."


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