Immigration to Britain has not affected employment or wages for most Britons and a more liberal policy is likely to be essential to the UK economic growth over the medium to long term, argues Professor Jonathan Portes in his latest book.
In ‘What Do We Know and What Should We Do About Immigration?’ Professor Portes says many people argue that immigration has increased British unemployment and driven down wages, often referring to the law of supply and demand to back up their claims.
However, Portes says immigration adds to supply as well as demand, so its impact on employment is likely to differ between different situations and places. So, while immigration might have had a small negative impact on some groups, he states that is not the experience of the majority.
The weight of empirical evidence suggests that immigration to the UK has not had any significant impact on employment or unemployment for resident Britons, nor has it had much impact on wages overall.– Professor Jonathan Portes
His book draws on studies, key points within British history and his own personal experiences around what he acknowledges is a controversial and politically charged issue. He hopes the book will appeal to anyone aiming to gain a clear understanding of what we currently know about immigration, what the key issues are, and where we might be going.
Professor Portes’ interest in immigration began when he worked in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit 20 years ago and has remained an area of specialism throughout his career. For students interested in finding out more, Professor Portes currently teaches the 2nd year undergraduate module on “The Political Economy of Immigration”.