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Migrants leaving Southern Europe to work in Brighton and Hove's bars
Youngsters escaping failing Southern European economies are seeking employment in Brighton and Hove’s bars, cafes and restaurants.
Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics have revealed that almost 6,000 international migrants have come to the city in the last 12 months.
University experts say migration has seen a shift in recent years, with newcomers to the city less likely to be from A8 countries such as Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states and more likely to come from struggling European countries including Spain, Portugal and Greece.
Academics say this has an overall positive impact on the city’s economy with most young and single migrants requiring little in terms of services or support – but it is feared they are driving down wages in the service industry.
The talented European migrants are increasing the pool of over-qualified graduates competing for low-paid service jobs in bars, cafes and restaurants.
The figures show that the net increase of more than 2,500 international migrants accounts for almost all of the city’s population increase to 275,762 in 2012.
Brighton and Hove mothers did not quite join in with the nationwide baby boom which saw the highest birth rate since 1972 – with the 3,205 births 86 fewer than last year.
Eastbourne, Wealden, Rother, Adur, Arun, Chichester and Worthing all saw more deaths than births in the 12-month period.
Population pyramids for the county’s towns and cities indicate a varying make-up of the local population.
Brighton and Hove’s population has the largest group between 20 and 25 years of age gradually tapering in to old age.
In contrast, Eastbourne has a much more equally-spread population, with the town’s residents evenly spread from their 20s to mid-60s.
Dr Michael Collyer, senior lecturer in geography at the University of Sussex, said a higher than national average rate of migration was an indicator of Brighton and Hove having a “positive economy” and being “an attractive place to live”.
He said that Government policies had seen a reduction in migrants from outside the EU such as India, Pakistan, the US and Canada, because it is the only level of migration the Government could restrict.
He said migrants were looking to improve their English to make themselves more employable when they return to their home countries.
He added: “I think the vast majority of these migrants will be making a short-term stay, for a year or so; we are looking at mainly single people who are able to move fairly quickly.
“They would be competing with students in employment that was not particularly regular or reliable and not particularly well-paid but quite fun in entertainment, in bars and in cafes.
“It is beneficial for anyone who will pay less for a pint or for a meal but they will depress wages to a certain extent in the service industry.
“Overall they bring a positive boost to the economy and are net contributors to the local economy, they are on the whole not competing for education, they don’t have children and they have a high- quality of health and so are less than average users of health services.”
The UK population has grown by more than 400,000 in a year after the biggest baby boom in 40 years.
In total, there were 813,200 births in Britain in the year up to June 30, 2012 – the highest level seen since 1972.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the total population rose to an estimated 63.7 million, up from 63.3 million in mid-2011.
There were 254,000 more births than deaths over the year and 165,600 more international migrants arriving than emigrants leaving.
Across the 12 months, 517,600 migrants arrived in the UK compared to 351,100 who left – putting net migration at an estimated 165,600 for the year.
In Brighton and Hove there were 1,081 more births than deaths, there were 565 more births than deaths in West Sussex, while in East Sussex there were 704 more deaths than births.
In total Brighton and Hove’s population increased by 1%, in East Sussex population increased by 0.7% and West Sussex saw its population increase by 0.7%.
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