Skilled migrants to contribute £77bn to UK economy

The contribution of skilled migrants is to reach new heights

Skilled migrants are expected to contribute over £77bn to the UK economy by 2012, new research from recruitment agency Harvey Nash has found.

The ‘Future Flows’ report carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) on behalf of Harvey Nash showed that the number of highly skilled migrants is set to rise by 14% to hit 812,000 in 2012.

The research also revealed that skilled migrant workers hold and support over a million UK jobs, a figure which is likely to rise sharply to 1.5m in four year’s time. But as well as filling vacancies themselves, they will also support a further 650,000 jobs through their spending on goods and services.

A number of industries are set to benefit from the influx of skilled migrant workers. The IT, telecommunications and transport sector will require an extra 19,000 skilled migrants by 2012 as demand rises for ecommerce and software specialists – their contribution is expected to add £16.2bn to the sector.

The majority of migrant workers are expected to continue to populate the education, health and government services sector, contributing £17.2bn to these industries by 2012.

A large number of the highly skilled migrants come from within the European Union, including new accession states such as Romania and Bulgaria. Significant numbers also come from Asia and Africa.

Once they arrive in the UK they become widely geographically dispersed but are more concentrated in the South – by 2012 approximately 365,000 skilled migrants will live in London, 100,000 in the South East and 49,000 in the East of England.

Harvey Nash chief executive Albert Ellis said that businesses need to recognise and take advantage of the valuable skills of migrant workers: “Businesses need to embrace skilled migration, recruit from wider social groups, as well as offer flexible and rewarding practices for home-grown talent, in order to safeguard their long term and global competitiveness.”

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