Migrant workers increase in UK

London, November 23:

More than 290,000 eastern Europeans have applied to work in Britain since Poland, the Czech Republic and six other countries joined the EU in May last year, according to official figures

published yesterday.

The latest figures on the workers’ registration scheme for migrants from the new EU states show that a further 59,000 applied to work in Britain this summer. But nearly half are in temporary jobs and are expected to leave Britain.

Nearly 170,000 of the 293,000 who have applied to work in Britain come from Poland, 40,000 from Lithuania, 31,000 from Slovakia, 20,000 from Latvia and 17,000 from the Czech Republic. More than 80 per cent of registered workers are earning between 4.50 and 5.99 sterling pounds an hour. Most of them are single men aged 18 to 34 and they fill labour shortages across Britain, with fewer than one-fifth based in London.

Most are in low-skilled manual trades, with the largest single group described as ‘process operative’ or factory worker. The other most common jobs are kitchen workers, packers, warehouse operatives, cleaners, farmworkers and waiters. Only 110 Pole gave their occupation as plum-bers when they registered. But the UK’s immigration minister said that the new European workers were already contributing to the success of the UK economy, paying tax and filling key jobs.

The statistics also show that removals of failed asylum seekers rose by 12 per cent in the last three months, but ministers admitted they would miss the deportation target. McNulty said yesterday that he expected the target would be met in February, two months late.

Iranians are now the largest single group of new asylum seekers in Britain, followed by Eritreans, Chinese and Somalis. The shadow home secretary, David Davis, said that the figures showed that the government was not delivering on asylum despite its repeated promises to sort out the ‘shambles’.