Immigration 'could be economy's saviour'

07 Jun 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK immigration could essentially save the country's economy from its spiral back into recession, it has been suggested.

A recent editorial in the Daily Telegraph highlighted the ability of skilled foreign workers with UK work permits to help boost productivity and tax revenues within the country.

Dr Savvas Savouri, chief economist of leading hedge fund Toscafund, is due to publish a paper that argues that the economic prospects of the UK are better than those of almost any other country in Europe. He told the Telegraph that this is partly due the English language and the UK's location between the powerhouses of the US and Asia.

However, the global shift towards wealth depending more on services than goods is also helping Britain to gain traction. One area in which this can be seen is the influx of overseas students that continues to stimulate Britain's higher education sector and boost its income from fees, accommodation and living expenses, while also generating jobs and growth for landlords and academics.

Dr Savouri estimates that the number of non-EU students in the country could rise from 135,000 at current estimates, to around half a million by 2030, which would provide a substantial further boost to the economy. Healthcare is also benefiting from overseas interest in a similar fashion as a growing middle class in the developing world starts to look for healthcare services that its own countries cannot provide.

Dr Savouri notes that this kind of development will attract some of the best-skilled foreign workers, with UK work permits for positions such as academics, designers and doctors. The paper believes that these changes will have a far more positive affect than is being anticipated: "Far from undermining the welfare state, these migrants will make it sustainable, helping us to dodge the oncoming demographic crash that threatens our ability to pay for pensions and the NHS."