Study: Immigrants are net contributors to the economy

Immigration: Contrary to popular belief immigrants contribute more to the economy than they take out
Immigration: Contrary to popular belief immigrants contribute more to the economy than they take out
Ian Dunt By

Immigrants pay more tax into the British economy than native Brits and claim less in benefits, according to a new study.

The report by University College London's Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration found immigrants arriving after 1999 were 45% less likely to claim state benefits or tax credits than UK natives and three per cent less likely to live in council housing.

The results can be partly explained by the fact immigrants tend to be men of working age, a demographic which tends to contribute more to the economy than it claims.

But researchers said that explanation only went so far.

"These differences are partly explainable by immigrants' more favourable age-gender composition," the authors said.

"However, even when compared to natives with the same age, gender composition, and education, recent immigrants are still 21% less likely than natives to receive benefits."

Supporters of immigration have long argued that the type of person who leaves their home country and settles down in the UK to follow their career may be less likely to wish to live on the level of income offered by the welfare system.

Immigrants from the European Economic Area (EEA) were particularly high contributors, paying in 34% more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

Those from outside the EEA contributed just two per cent more in taxes than they received, but that was still more than native Brits, who claimed 11% more than they contributed.

The lower figure for non-EEA migrants may be due to the fact they tend to have more children.

The report also casts doubt on the image of immigrants as labourers competing for manual jobs, with 32% of EEA immigrants and 43% of non-EEA immigrants holding university degrees, compared to 21% of the British adult population.

"Our study also suggests that over the last decade or so, the UK has benefited fiscally from immigrants from EEA countries, who have put in considerably more in taxes and contributions than they received in benefits and transfers," the authors said.

"Given this evidence, claims about 'benefit tourism' by EEA immigrants seem to be disconnected from reality."

A Home Office spokesperson said: "We welcome those that want to come here to contribute to the economy, but it's absolutely right that we have strict rules in place to protect the integrity of the British benefits system to ensure it's not abused."


Load in comments
Politics @ Lunch

Friday lunchtime. Your Inbox. It's a date.