The net increase in migrant workers coming to the UK, particularly those from within the European Union unaffected by immigration policy because of their right to free movement is the subject of a highly political and frequently polarised debate.

The most recent figures from the ONS show that net migration into the UK increased by more than 38% to 243,000 in 2013-2014 (ONS, August 2014). EU citizens, including an increased number from Romania and Bulgaria accounted for two-thirds of the growth from the previous figure of 175,000.

Opponents of migrant workers argue that they take up the jobs of UK-born workers, particularly young workers, have a depressing effect on wages and put a strain on public services and infrastructure.

On the other side of the argument, supporters of migration say migrants are a key part of the UK's flexible labour market, help meet skills shortages and help UK businesses grow and compete.

This report shows that there is much more nuance to the debate than is typically aired.

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