May 20, 2004Claims that more immigrants are needed to help fill 60,000 catering jobs in London have been challenged after an analysis of employment statistics show that nearly four times that number of Londoners (230,000) are unemployed - 55% of whom are aged between 18 and 34.
At a press conference following the immigration 'summit' on April 6 Home Secretary David Blunkett said there was a need for immigrants to help fill 60,000 "hospitality and catering" vacancies in London alone.
But a study by independent think-tank Migrationwatch has shown that during the winter of 2003/4 some 230,000 in Greater London (roughly the area bounded by the M25) were unemployed . Unemployment in London, at 6.9%, is already well above the national average of 4.7%  and 40% of the unemployed population in London are themselves migrants .
'It is very hard to see why even more immigration is required to fill these vacancies when we have such a large pool of people in London already unemployed,' said Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch.
'The catering and hospitality scheme is, in theory, for temporary admission only but there is absolutely no check on departure. This could well be just another example of immigration by the back door,' he said.
'These vacancies cannot all be for Cordon Bleu cooks. The rest will be relatively low paid and will therefore contribute little in taxes. Yet again the government are plucking statistics out of the air, and certainly out of context, to justify a policy of massive immigration that has little or no public support,`
.Data provided by the Office for National Statistics for Migration Watch UK from the Labour Force Survey.
.Source ONS: Labour market statistics May 2004.
.As footnote 1.