Two in every three new UK jobs went to foreign-born workers, shock figures showed yesterday.
The statistic emerged on the day Britain’s jobless total hit 2.5 million, including a record 951,000 16 to 24-year-olds.
The Office for National Statistics figures intensified fears that unemployment will soar this year amid public sector jobs cuts.
But now a breakdown of workers by place of birth and nationality suggests even where new jobs are created, only a third go to people born in Britain. For example, there were 300,000 more jobs from July to September last year.
Two-thirds went to overseas workers – roughly half to migrants from across the world and the rest to those born in eastern European countries like Poland that joined the EU in 2004.
Overall, while a million jobs have been created here over the past six years, there are a third of a million fewer UK-born people working, while nearly 1.3 million foreign-born workers have found jobs.
Analysed by nationality, a third of the extra 297,000 workers last year were British-born, but two-thirds were not – although 63,000 of these have gone on to get UK passports.
Nearly half of all the new workers do not hold a British passport, including 98,000 from eastern Europe.
They bring the total estimated number of eastern European workers here to an estimated 593,000, up from 82,000 since 2004.
The number of citizens of the longer- standing EU member states, such as France and Germany, fell by about 3,000 to 531,000, while Indian nationals increased by 38,000 to 188,000.
Migrationwatch UK chairman Sir Andrew Green said the figures were “spectacular”.
He said: “There are no fixed numbers of jobs in an economy but it is very hard to escape the conclusion that foreign-born workers are taking jobs that might be done by British workers.” He said the new figures suggested there had been a “significant” inflow of eastern European workers in the summer of 2010.
“The huge increase in foreign workers at a time of high unemployment, including nearly a million young people, strengthens still further the case for tough immigration controls on workers from the rest of the world,” said Sir Andrew.
The coalition proposes to cap non-EU immigration for the year from April.
Nearly 3.9 million people working in the UK between July and September last year were born overseas, up from 2.7 million in 2004.
There were 2.4 million foreigners working here, up from just under 1.5 million in 2004. EU rules mean the UK has no power to stop citizens of other EU countries coming here, but the Coalition has pledged to cut non-EU immigration drastically.
In November, Home Secretary Theresa May announced that the number of non-EU workers entering Britain would be slashed by a fifth as she set the first permanent cap on foreign workers at 21,700 for the coming year.
But businesses are free to transfer unlimited numbers of staff from overseas to their UK offices if the workers stay in Britain for less than 12 months.
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