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Last Updated: Monday, 1 May 2006, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Migrant workers 'boost business'
Migrant worker
Migrant workers do the jobs UK workers do not want
Most employers have welcomed migrant workers for filling jobs that British people are not prepared to do, according to researchers.

The UK was one of only three countries in the EU not to impose restrictions on workers from new member states in 2004.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said three out of four firms said that policy had been good for business.

Roger Bellamy, a Herefordshire farmer said immigrant workers had helped fill unwanted jobs.

If you put an advert in the paper it is unlikely you would get any replies
Roger Bellamy, farmer
Mr Bellamy, who farms near Ross-on-Wye said: "They want to work, they want to earn money.

"Not that the English worker probably doesn't but they are keener and hungrier.

"In the past we have employed - especially on strawberries and on the farm - English people whereas now if you put an advert in the paper it is unlikely you would get any replies, I'm afraid."

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation research found that highly-qualified workers from the new EU member states were filling many low-skilled and low-paid jobs, which British workers were not willing to accept.

Minimum wage problems

The author of the report, Bridget Anderson, said many of the workers were prepared to accept the jobs in return for gaining experience and learning English.

But she said there were problems regarding the enforcement of the minimum wage, labour laws and conditions.

In 2004 Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia joined the EU but 12 of the existing states put restrictions on their workers.

Only the UK, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland did not restrict workers from those countries.

On Monday Spain, Portugal, Finland and Greece dropped their restrictions.




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