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New fuel in UK immigration debate

Stephen Beard Aug 23, 2006
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New fuel in UK immigration debate

Stephen Beard Aug 23, 2006
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TEXT OF STORY

LISA NAPOLI: New numbers show immigration isn’t just a thorny issue of course here in the United States. The British government says over the last two years alone, more than half a million Eastern Europeans have flocked to Britain to work. Marketplace’s Stephen Beard says the figures have revived a debate in the UK about the economic benefits and drawbacks of large-scale immigration.


STEPHEN BEARD: Since eight east European countries joined the European Union two years ago, up to 600,000 of their citizens have come to Britain.

The short-term benefits to the UK have been undeniable. Virtually all the immigrants have found work, filling skill shortages or doing jobs that the Brits don’t want to do.

But the country is now bracing itself for a new wave of immigration if Bulgaria and Rumania join the Union next year.

Damien Green of the opposition Conservative Party is calling for curbs for the sake of large numbers of unskilled, unemployed, young Brits:

DAMIEN GREEN: We’ve got a million under-25s not in education, employment or training. If every time there’s a labor shortage in a particular sector or a particular area, new people come in to take those jobs , then it will be more difficult to retrain that whole generation.

Several government ministers are also known to be uneasy about the current high level of immigration.

In London, this Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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