Immigration in the UK economy: some aspects of immigrants’ employment and self-employment

Koundourakis, Stylianos (2014) Immigration in the UK economy: some aspects of immigrants’ employment and self-employment. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


This thesis is motivated by the over-arching question “what economic contribution do immigrants make to the UK”? The question invites several perspectives from which to answer and the thesis offers a survey of the literature relevant to these, with particular emphasis on empirical studies focussed on the UK economy. There is also a brief historical summary of the contemporary UK experience and policies regarding immigration. Comparative profiles of the UK immigrant and native populations are constructed from primary source data, namely various issues of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS). From this contextualising foundation, the thesis moves to examine two particular aspects of immigrants’ economic activity in the UK, using QLFS data as an evidence base. These aspects are a) the change in the average real wages of low-skilled immigrant workers, with native workers as a comparator and b) factors influencing the rate of immigrant entrepreneurship. The empirical investigation of changes in average real wages amongst low-skilled immigrants discovers a noticeable decline relative to the native peer group, particularly for males; proximate causes are identified. The investigation of entrepreneurial activity confirms a number of influential factors noted within the literature and adds to these some significant drivers that have not previously been identified.

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