Nearly 95 per cent of new workers in the UK were born abroad thanks to a sudden surge in the number of Eastern Europeans coming to Britain since the Brexit vote.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the total number of people in work in the UK increased by 454,000 between July and September last year and same period this year, however migrants made up 430,000 of this increase – nearly 95 per cent.
The number of foreign workers in the UK has risen by nearly a million over the past 19 years, with the proportion increasing from 3.7 per cent to 10.9 per cent.
While the figures show Brexit is not hitting the UK economy as many predicted, they will cause concern about the impact of globalisation on UK workers, and the extent to which British bosses depend on migrant labour.
Some observers say that employers are using the supply of cheap immigration labour to fill vacancies without having to increase wages.
John Philpott, of research consultancy Jobs Economist, said: “Most of the additional supply of labour is coming from abroad and employers are taking advantage of that. They might be filling existing vacancies, but often employers are creating additional opportunities and they can do that without increasing wages.”
Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of Migration Watch, said: “This is yet another large increase in the labour force driven by an increase in foreign workers.
“This continuing influx perhaps explains why the British people voted for Brexit. It is a sharp reminder that the forthcoming negotiations must get the numbers down.”
Immigration was one of the main driving factors behind Britain’s vote to leave the European Union earlier this year.
Figures released right before polling day revealed that Britain’s population had shot up by half a million in the space of a year, with immigration the driving factor as birth rates fell.