Immigration of eastern Europeans 'had negligible economic impact'

03 May 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK immigration is a topic of hot debate with discussions often falling to the jobs market.

Now, research from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research has found that the relaxation of UK immigration laws has had a negligible effect on the economy.

Hundreds of thousands of eastern Europeans migrated to the country after the UK immigration controls were relaxed due to the expansion of the European Union in 2004.

But the think-tank found that overall output in the country is just 0.95 per cent higher as a result of these migrants, who came from eight countries in 2004 and a further two who joined the EU in 2007.

Dawn Holland, one of the researchers who worked on the report, said that the impact on UK national output as a result of the additional migration was "insignificant to a large extent".

Conversely, countries that restricted their intake of immigrants from the new EU countries may have seen their gross domestic product (GDP) reduced.

According to the Financial Times, Germany has imposed restrictions on migration that end this Sunday.

The earlier rules could have resulted in a negative hit to GDP growth of between 0.1 and 0.5 per cent, according to figures cited by the paper.