Making Migration Work – Policy Solution from NIACE

25 March 2015

Far too many people’s skills are being wasted and we are not making the most of migration or helping people integrate. NIACE today calls for urgent action to unlock the skills of migrants and UK residents to ensure we meet the needs of business and create greater community cohesion.

In the Policy Solution Report – Making Migration Work – NIACE is calling for: 

  • ??changes to the benefit system to require everyone in a household in receipt of benefits with an English language-need to learn English;
  • significant expansion in the number of English classes, refocusing current public investment on entry levels and introducing loans for learning beyond this;
  • greater power for local areas to promote integration and support local opportunity; and
  • changes to the immigration cap so more highly skilled people can stay and work in the UK.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said: 

“All too often the debate about migration ignores the facts and is clouded in mythology and politics. Immigrants who have arrived in Britain since 2000 are less than half as likely as the UK-born population to receive state benefits or tax credits. EU migrants alone contribute net £20bn to the UK’s GDP and less than 5% are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance. 

“However we are not helping all migrants make the best use of their skills. Funding cuts to ESOL have resulted in a dramatic drop from around 500,000 learners in 2006/07 to 139,000 in 13/14. And it is simply not acceptable that 850,000 people in England and Wales are considered ‘non-proficient’ in English, damaging their prospects of successfully integrating into and contributing to their community, finding work and fulfilling their ambitions. We also recognise that in some communities where there is a concentration of immigrants, more needs to be done for community cohesion. 

“Our proposals for learning, employment and skills policies will enhance the benefits of migration, leading to a stronger economy and a more tolerant, inclusive and integrated society.”