May 29, 2014

Immigration debate within the UK Labour party continues

The UK Labour MP Diane Abbott has advised the Labour party leader Ed Miliband not to implement an approach similar to UKIP (UK Independence Party) in order to chase the anti-immigrant vote.

In the article published in the UK's Guardian newspaper, Abbott focuses on Miliband’s remarks in Thurrock, where Labour lost two seats while UKIP won five. The Labour leader said many UKIP voters loved Britain and did "the right thing" in their communities.

Yvette Cooper, shadow Home Secretary, has called for more discussion around immigration, saying, “Talking—rather than shouting—about immigration helps. Most people don't want to shut out investment, travel and trade. But they are worried about wages and communities. They believe immigration is important but it needs to be properly controlled.”

More open immigration policies, which allow for balanced entry of immigrants of different education and skill levels, are likely to have no adverse effects on native workers’ wages. In fact immigration may pave the way for productivity growth, as economist Giovanni Peri has discussed in this article.

Evidence compiled by Amelie Constant shows migrants choose locations with available jobs and fill labor shortages, whether these are high- or low-skilled roles. She has shown that migrants accept jobs that natives don’t want or can’t do and actually create new jobs by increasing production, engaging in self-employment, and easing upward job mobility for everyone.

Read more about immigration on IZA World of Labor.

Related articles:
Circular migration, by Klaus F. Zimmermann
Skill-based immigration, economic integration, and economic performance, by Abdurrahman B. Aydemir