Migrant workers 'could help with north-east skills gap'


Recruiting migrant workers is the best way to fill skills shortages in the north-east of England, a new report claims.

Over one in 40 jobs in the north-east of England remain unfilled, the report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found, which rises to as many as one in 20 jobs in the IT, hotels and catering sectors.

Although the north-east has had more new foreign migrants since 1991 than any other region outside London, the north-east still has the lowest proportion of foreign-born populations of all UK regions.

The report recommends that employers in the region should make an effort to attract highly-skilled migrants and retain students, while ensuring that low-skilled migration complements efforts to get unemployed people back to work.

The report also advised employers to minimise 'brain waste' by better recognising qualifications and experience gained abroad.

"As the region continues to export a large proportion of its production increasing our knowledge of other markets and their cultures will be critical to our future economic success - inward migration can only improve our ability to do this," said Liz Smith, assistant regional director for the Confederation of British Industry North East.

The top country from which foreign-born migrants have come was found to be Germany, followed by India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, South Africa, the US, Australia, Canada and Iran.

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