Report highlights economic benefits of UK immigration

06 Aug 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A report has this week highlighted the economic benefits of UK immigration, suggesting that political efforts to appear to be working hard to curb the number of UK visas issued risk damaging the country.

Published by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (Niesr), the study focused on the recent introduction of restrictive immigration policies and found that they are "likely to be damaging".

Niesr forecast that if net migration is reduced to 105,000 a year, then there will be an 11 per cent reduction in the size of the UK economy by 2060 compared to how things would look if migration were allowed to continue at current trends.

Both sides of the political spectrum in the UK are now taking a restrictive approach to UK immigration, with Labour and the Conservatives keen to be seen to be reducing net migration figures. A lone figure among this trend has been London Mayor Boris Johnson, who recently announced his plans to stand as an MP in 2015. Johnson has stressed the benefits of UK immigration for London's economy in particular.

The Mayor's viewpoint is backed up by the Niesr research, which noted that by cutting back on the number of UK work permits and visas issued there is a real risk of reducing the talent pool for British businesses.

A spokesman for Johnson told City AM: "The mayor’s position is that controlled immigration has been and will continue to be good for London."

He added: "Migration is an important part of the capital’s history and plays a vital role in making this the greatest big city in the world. [Johnson] wants London to be the first choice of the brightest and best international students and skilled workers who can make an important contribution to our economy."