Recent immigrants to UK 'make net contribution'


Prof Christian Dustmann: Immigrants 'contribute to public finances'

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Immigrants to the UK since 2000 have made a "substantial" contribution to public finances, a report says.

The study by University College London said recent immigrants were less likely to claim benefits and live in social housing than people born in Britain.

The authors said rather than being a "drain", their contribution had been "remarkably strong".

The government said it was right to have strict rules in place to help protect the benefits system.

Immigrants who arrived after 1999 were 45% less likely to receive state benefits or tax credits than UK natives in the period 2000-2011, according to the report by Prof Christian Dustmann and Dr Tommaso Frattini from UCL's Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration.

They were also 3% less likely to live in social housing.

"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% less likely than natives to receive benefits," the authors say.

'Highly-educated immigrants'

Those from the European Economic Area (EEA - the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) had made a particularly positive contribution in the decade up to 2011, contributing 34% more in taxes than they received in benefits.

Start Quote

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

End Quote Report co-author Prof Christian Dustmann

Immigrants from outside the EEA contributed 2% more in taxes than they received in the same period, the report showed.

Over the same period, British people paid 11% less in tax than they received.

Despite the positive figures in the decade since the millennium, the study found that between 1995 and 2011, immigrants from non-EEA countries claimed more in benefits than they paid in taxes, mainly because they tended to have more children than native Britons.

The report also showed that in 2011, 32% of recent EEA immigrants and 43% of non-EEA immigrants had university degrees, compared with 21% of the British adult population.


The research used data from the British Labour Force Survey and government reports. Prof Dustmann said it had shown that "in contrast with most other European countries, the UK attracts highly-educated and skilled immigrants from within the EEA as well as from outside".

He added: "Our study also suggests that over the last decade or so, the UK has benefited fiscally from immigrants from EEA countries, who have put in considerably more in taxes and contributions than they received in benefits and transfers.

Start Quote

The real issue for the future is the very large numbers of low-paid immigrants from eastern Europe”

End Quote Sir Andrew Green, Migration Watch

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

Sir Andrew Green of the pressure group Migration Watch said the report had "been spun".

"We've had roughly four million immigrants under the previous government - two-thirds of those were from outside the European Union," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

He said the report found that, "since 1995, they have made a negative contribution overall".

He added: "So the verdict for non-EU is that the benefit to the exchequer is minimal or negative."

He accepted that "if you take the whole of the EU", the benefit was "clearly positive".

But Sir Andrew said this would be expected "because you are including German engineers, French fashion designers and - as it's the European Economic Area - even Swiss bankers [sic]".

"The real issue for the future is the very large numbers of low-paid immigrants from eastern Europe," he said.

He added: "The report looks backwards but doesn't look forwards.

"The professor's report does not take into account - no doubt for good reason - future health costs as migrants get older nor the pension bill, which is huge."

Career peak

Start Quote

It's absolutely right that we have strict rules in place to protect the integrity of the British benefits system to ensure it's not abused”

End Quote Government spokesman

Prof Dustmann told Today: "It is true that recent immigrants are younger but they are also much better educated.

"So they will take more out of the benefit system but they will also contribute more in the future because they have not yet reached their career peak and their full income potential.

"Of course, the more you earn, the more you pay in taxes."

A spokesman for the government said: "We welcome those that want to come here to contribute to the economy, but it's absolutely right that we have strict rules in place to protect the integrity of the British benefits system to ensure it's not abused."


He added that this was why the government was strengthening measures to ensure that benefits are only paid to people who are "legally allowed to live in Britain".

Meanwhile, a separate UCL study released on Tuesday warns that the government's target to cut net migration to the UK to the tens of thousands is "neither a useful tool nor a measure of policy effectiveness".

That report argues that actions to cut work-related, student and family migration have damaged the UK's reputation as a good place to work and study.

The 2011 census showed that 13% of the population of England and Wales was born outside the UK.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 942.

    The company I work for employ many non-Brits.It’s engineering based and they just struggle to find local qualified workers.Not only I pay taxes in the UK and put my money back into the UK economy but my company turn over a huge amount of money & they too pay taxes & move the economy.without immigrants,certain type of business would disappear.this is the type of immigration u guys should welcome

  • rate this

    Comment number 941.

    I'm not sure I care that much about immigrants making a 'net contribution'. It's more about behaving themselves when they get here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 940.

    Doesn't the Daily Mail have a comments section online for the usual suspects to vent their spleens ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 939.

    When it comes to these type of statistics, I have no confidence in their accuracy at all. Skilled workers entering the country can of course be very positive. However, a quick visit to many parts of the Uk will show that it has been uncontrolled putting a burden on the UK’s poorest workers and services like housing, health and education. The next group from Romania and Bulgaria is weeks away.

  • rate this

    Comment number 938.

    If two Celtic Christian groups from the same group of Islands are fully integrated after 400 years of Irish immigration, I'm sure assimilating millions of Muslims won't be a problem.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 937.

    Careful. The report does not claim that immigrants are a net benefit to the UK but to public finances. It also limits the costs which it includes in the calculation if you read through the report.

    However they can not improve the UK as a whole unless they provide resources which are not available here and that obviously does not apply to unskilled labour so there ia s net cost.

  • rate this

    Comment number 936.

    @London Dave

    You are right mate their are Poles, Romanians and every other Eastern European all over the streets at night, I tend to stay in doors its much safer

  • rate this

    Comment number 935.

    786. Pakgila
    The EU's plan...leading to a Federal Europe, has been exposed.


    Exposed? When was this such a big secret? A Federal Europe makes total sense, what's ridiculous is that we haven't been able to implement it earlier. If we had, we'd have been the biggest economy for decades rather than the last few years.

  • Comment number 934.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 933.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 932.

    @900. Sebastian-Fettles-Teacher
    So if Brits don't have language skills that must mean that immigrants are translating for immigrants. But the Brits are footing the bill for it…. Talk about a circular argument.

  • rate this

    Comment number 931.

    I'd like clarity on the following.
    How many millionaires were included?
    How many immigrants were coming in for work?
    How many are skilled/unskilled?
    How many are legal/illegal?
    How many are econmic migrants/refugees?
    There is FAR FAR more to this than a simple headline figure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 930.

    The average contribution of immigrants doesn't matter, only two things do: 1) What is their individual contribution to this country? (note that the report avoids the mathemantic 'mode' like the plague... because it is pitifully low & politically inconvenient);
    2) Whether or not the majority of Britons want them here. Simple really.

  • rate this

    Comment number 929.

    Lot of nice people on this thread, blaming 'lazy scroungers' and immigrants for our woes. Just goes to show how far divide and rule tactics have gone. Depressing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 928.

    If there was any chance of academics being put out of work or having their wages reduced by mass immigration, we would not see favourable studies rigged to show positive results.

    It's easy to scoff at mass immigration putting people out of work when you are 100% protected.

    Journalists, academics, politicians and executives are protected and they have the power to force it on the rest of us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 927.

    @900. Sebastian-Fettles-Teacher
    #850 ... about speaking English in this country: yes, some of the Brits do, but not very well, never mind any foreign languages. That's why translation services are needed, to translate ...... Remember, translation provides thousands of jobs in the UK, thanks to the Brits' non-existent language skills."

    This is racist stereotyping

  • rate this

    Comment number 926.

    At least the government are building new houses, railways and motorways to deal with 250,000 new people a year....(we need 100,000 new homes alone just to cater for immigrants at that level)

    Oh wait a second.....................

  • rate this

    Comment number 925.

    907 Sally
    Do stop banging on about the thieving government. ALL governments, irrespective of party, thieve from the people. I don't see people coming to the UK to pursue a life of happiness living in my 3-doors down neighbour's shed - that's misery! But we don't need any more unskilled labour, we've enough of our own!

  • rate this

    Comment number 924.

    So Tories/Ukip etc stop repeating the lies to scare people into voting for you. And send out onto the streets a van saying "Thank you immigrants for being so good for our country".

  • rate this

    Comment number 923.

    It's not just the BBC, this is a well funded orchestrated piece of propaganda, one of lots we will be seeing over the coming months and years. Next it will focus on UKIP both as a party and the individuals. The "machine" will do everything to further remove democratic choice and silence the majority. Do not be fooled. VOTE UKIP!!


Page 45 of 92


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