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EU immigrants 'add to UK skills'

NEWS

ENLARGING the European Union has brought thousands of workers out of the black economy, a European Commission report confirmed this week.

It said: 'Enlargement may have contributed to bringing to the surface part of the underground economy constituted by previously undeclared workers with well-known benef icial effects, such as a greater compliance with legally sanctioned labour standards, improved social cohesion and higher state income from tax.' The report dismissed fears over 'Polish plumbers' edging out domestic workers. It found that the number of nationals from accession countries in other European states was 'stable before and after enlargement', with imported workers complementing existing skills.

MEPs were due to vote on the first reading of the European Commission's services directive this week.

The Construction Confederation is worried about the directive because it is based on the 'country of origin' principle, where a business based in one state can trade in another on the basis of the regulations of its home country.

But representatives will vote on amendments, including one that will ensure the health and safety standards of the host country are maintained.