Foreigners In UK More Likely To Have A Degree

The report said that people from Chinese, Indian and African background were ahead of white British people in educational achievement. File picture

  • High achievement may explain why employers want immigrants
  • Students of Chinese, Indian and African families overtake white Britons
  • One reason is many immigrants come to Britain to study

Immigrants have much better educational qualifications than people born in Britain, a new study yesterday found.

It said that more than a third of people who were born abroad have a degree or qualifications of the same level – but only just over a quarter of British-born people.

At the other end of the education scale, nearly one in four British-born people left school with no qualifications and have achieved none since. But fewer than a fifth of immigrants have no academic achievements at all to show.

The high education levels of those born abroad provide fresh evidence to explain why employers are anxious to fill jobs with immigrants rather than native-born workers, and keen to keep migration doors open to maintain the supply of better-qualified labour.

The study, by academics at the University of Manchester, suggested that immigrants have better qualifications because some have been gained abroad, because many arrive as students at British educational institutions, and because migrant groups have over a 20-year period overtaken native Britons in educational achievement.

Researchers used information gathered by the national census in 1991, 2001 and 2011 to check the educational levels of people born in different countries and from different ethnic groups.

Study author Kitty Lymperopoulou said: ‘Over the last twenty years, educational attainment has been increasing among ethnic groups as a result of an improvement in access to education overseas and the increasing proportion of ethnic minority people educated in Britain.’

The report said that people from Chinese, Indian and African background were ahead of white British people in educational achievement, and that Bangladeshis and Pakistanis who have long lagged behind are catching up.

The only ethnic group left far behind are those classed as white gypsies or Irish travellers, among whom six out of 10 have no qualifications and fewer than one in 10 a degree or equivalent.

It found a wide educational gap between people born in Britain, and those born abroad, who are counted by statisticians as immigrants. The differences were most marked among young people, who include those who came to Britain as students, and those who came as young children and pursued education in Britain.

‘The differences in educational attainment between younger and older groups are more pronounced for those born outside the UK,’ the study said.

‘Across all ages, over a third of people born outside the UK had degree level qualifications compared with a quarter of people born in Britain. Similarly, the foreign born population were less likely to be without any qualifications than the UK born population.’

It said that young Bangladeshi and Pakistani immigrants under the age of 24 were four times less likely to be without qualifications than people born in those countries aged in their 50s and early 60s. More than four out of 10 young Indians have a degree, partly because of high numbers who study in Britain.

Polish and Eastern European migrants are less likely to have degrees but many have other qualifications from their home countries, the report said.

The study, by the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity at Manchester, said: ‘A comparison of the 1991, 2001 and 2011 censuses suggests that all ethnic groups experienced improvements in educational attainment over the last 20 years.

‘These improvement reflect, to a large extent, improved access to higher education, particularly among women.’
– Daily Mail