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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Immigration is good for the economy says report

The BBC report this morning on a very important contribution to the debate on immigration with the outcome of a study by the University College London which says that immigrants coming to the UK since 2000 have made a "substantial" contribution to public finances.

The study destroys some of the myths around immigration by concluding that recent immigrants are less likely to claim benefits and live in social housing than people born in Britain. The authors say that rather than being a "drain", their contribution has been "remarkably strong":

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.

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.

One of the authors, Prof Dustmann said that the study shows 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.

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

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