Immigration and the Reallocation of Work Health Risks
July 16, 2018
This working paper of work package 5 analyses how immigration may affect the reallocation of occupational physical burden (e.g. lifting and carrying heavy loads) and occupational health risks (i.e. injury risk) in the UK. Using data for England and Wales from the Labour Force Survey (2003-2013), the authors find that on average, immigration leads to a reallocation of UK-born workers towards jobs characterized by lower physical burden and injury risk. The results also show important differences across skill groups. Immigration reduces the average physical burden of UK-born workers with medium levels of education, but it has no significant effect on those with low levels. They also find that immigration led to an improvement of self-reported measures of native workers’ health.
The results suggest that immigration pushes UK-born workers towards jobs characterized by lower physical burden and injury risk. The authors also find that immigration reduced native’s likelihood to report work-related disability and any health problems. These findings, together with the evidence that immigrants exhibit lower injury rates than natives, suggest that the reallocation of tasks could reduce overall health care costs and the human and financial costs typically associated with workplace injuries