Economic impact of immigration 'balanced'

13 Jun 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The impact of immigration in the world's largest economies is roughly balanced in terms of how much foreign arrivals contribute in tax revenue and how much they receive through benefits.

This is according to a report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which found that immigration into the world's largest economies has a negligible impact on these countries' public finances.

The International Migration Outlook report for 2013 found that on average, households headed by immigrants contributed around €5,000 more than they received in benefits between 2007 and 2009. The only negative contributions were in Germany and other smaller eastern European states that have lower immigration populations.

India, China, Pakistan and Poland were found to be the largest exporters of migrants in to the OECD members. Meanwhile, Romania, which has just 0.3 per cent of the global population, was found to export a higher percentage of its population than any other country.

Jean-Christophe Dumont, head of the OECD's international migration division, remarked that although migrants tend to make a lower net contribution to public funds than their native-born counterparts, this tends to be because they earn less, rather than because they draw more benefits.

The paper was conducted in order to look in detail at the full fiscal impact of immigration, especially in light of opinion polls showing that many people believe immigrants have a negative effect on the public purse.

It stated: "There are fears that immigration may put further pressure on the public purse at a time when fiscal consolidation is at the forefront of policy agendas."

The report concluded: "Migration represents neither a significant gain nor drain for the public purse. Immigrants are pretty much like the rest of the population in this respect."