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Sociology, Social Policy and CriminologyPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

The economic benefits of A8 in–Migration in Southampton

Published: 14 May 2008

What effect are migrant workers from eastern Europe (A8 countries) having on Southampton?

A new research project entitled 'The Economic Benefits of A8 in-Migration in Southampton' aims to provide information about the economic benefits of A8 migration in Southampton to inform Southampton City Council’s future communications and planning.

As an international port, Southampton has been a significant destination for A8 migrants and to date has experienced generally good community relations with its new migrant communities. However effective strategies and leadership rely on informed data in order that successful places and communities may be shaped for the future.

It is clear that migration is a key theme of the modern 21st century economy. With the enlargement of the EU in 2004 and 2007, the scale and pace of migration has increased, principally with the arrival of people of working age. In particular the numbers of people arriving from Eastern Europe accession states (A8 countries) are significant.

Recent macroeconomic studies consider that migrant workers are net contributors to the economy, and one study credits a third of recent economic growth to accession state migration. Many employers feel that European enlargement has been good for business, with migrant workers doing jobs under employment conditions that UK nationals are not prepared to accept.

At a local level, migration can have more diverse impacts, especially when it occurs suddenly and rapidly in an area. The OECD recently emphasised the need for well-managed immigration flows in order to offer benefits both for host countries and for migrants and their families. They noted that effective integration of immigrants into the societies of the countries where they settle is crucial, and this requires commitment and action at both national and local levels. This research aims to contribute to this commitment.

The research is funded by the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), which works for Local Government improvement so that Councils can serve people and places.

The research team has been commissioned by Southampton City Council’s New Communities Team to conduct this IDeA funded project. The project will be conducted from March to July 2008, and will be carried out by senior researchers from The University of Southampton. Dr Derek McGhee and Dr Pauline Leonard have longstanding experience in migration research and will be assisted by Mrs Asiya Djaama.

The research will involve interviews with representatives of key organisations in the city and region to explore their views on the economic benefits and costs of A8 in-migration.

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