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Europeans preferred to Indians

UK employers now prefer hiring citizens from the 10 new EU countries to those from India.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2006 12:40 IST

The British employment market for immigrants is fast changing - employers now prefer hiring citizens from the 10 new countries that joined the European Union in 2004 to those from India or the Commonwealth countries.

In the latest tracking of employment trends by the authoritative Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the 10 countries - for the first time - have emerged as "a more popular source of migrant labour" than the old EU, Commonwealth or the "rest of world".

The 10 countries that joined the EU on May 1, 2004, - better known as the 'accession states' - are the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The trend has been revealed in the latest edition of CIPD's 'Labour Market Outlook'. The CIPD is the professional body for those involved in the management and development of people in Britain.

"Migrants from the EU accession states are currently the most popular with employers, whether looking for skilled or unskilled workers," the CIPD assessment revealed.

"This represents a big shift compared to last year's figures, which showed that British employers were most keen to recruit from 'old Europe' and the rest of the world than from the new EU accession states."

After the 10 countries joined the EU, their citizens have the right to work in Britain. Many of them have entered Britain's employment market and bid for jobs along with those from the 'old EU' countries, the Commonwealth countries and the 'rest of the world'.

Owners of Indian and Chinese restaurants have already expressed concern over problems in obtaining work permits for chefs from the Indian sub-continent and China to work in the multi-million-pound food industry.

According to an industry estimate, Indian restaurants alone need at least 20,000 workers a year. Their owners have reportedly been told to employ east Europeans in their kitchens.

The CIPD survey revealed that public sector employers and employers in London and southeast England were the most likely to fill vacancies with migrant workers. It also revealed that many employers were actively soliciting applications from abroad.

"In the case of skilled workers, employers are, not surprisingly, hiring migrants primarily for their skills and qualifications. For less skilled or unskilled migrants, the key attributes sought are work experience, commitment and willingness to work.

"Proficiency in English is considered important by around half of employers of both skilled and non-skilled migrants," the survey revealed.

Almost two in five employers said that the government's proposed new points system for managing migration would be a "bureaucratic barrier to actively recruiting migrant workers".

First Published: Feb 03, 2006 12:38 IST