UK immigration 'results in net contribution' to economy

05 Nov 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A recent UK immigration study has found that recent immigrants make a net contribution to the economy.

Conducted by the University College London, the study found that recent migrants actually make a "substantial" contribution to public finances.

The report looked at migrants that arrived after 1999 in particular. It found that immigrants were 45 per cent less likely to receive tax credits or state benefits than UK natives during the period between 2000 and 2011.

In addition, immigrants were shown to be three per cent less likely to live in social housing, while those from the European Economic Area (EEA) made a particularly positive contribution in the study period, contributing 34 per cent more in taxes than they received in benefits.

Immigrants from outside the EEA, those that typically need to go through the UK visa system, were found to have contributed two per cent more in taxes than they received in the same period, while British people paid 11 per cent less in tax than they received.

The authors stated: "These differences are partly explainable by immigrants' more favourable age-gender composition. However, even when compared to natives with the same age, gender composition, and education, recent immigrants are still 21 per cent less likely than natives to receive benefits."

As well as comparing financial and tax contributions, the research looked at differences in education and found that 32 per cent of recent EEA immigrants and 43 per cent of non-EEA immigrants had university degrees. This compared favourably with the 21 per cent of the adult native population.

Professor Dustmann who worked on the study commented: "Over the last decade or so, the UK has benefited fiscally from immigrants from European Economic Area countries, who have put in considerably more in taxes and contributions than they received in benefits and transfers.

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