Immigrants to UK boost the public coffers

Julian Harris
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IMMIGRANTS have improved the UK’s public finances by contributing more to the state than they take out, an international study revealed yesterday.

The so-called net fiscal impact of immigrants was the equivalent of 0.46 per cent of GDP – billions of pounds – on average from 2007-09, the report found.

Paris-based think tank the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (known as the OECD) conducted the analysis to inform the debate on migration policy in many western countries.

“According to recent opinion polls, about 50 per cent of citizens in European countries and in Canada believe that immigrants contribute less in taxes than they receive… are a big burden on the public purse,” it said.

Yet the OECD’s own number-crunching defied these public fears. “Migration represents neither a significant gain nor drain for the public purse,” it said. Immigrants are pretty much like the rest of the population in this respect.”

In the UK, households headed by immigrants make a slightly greater net contribution to the public purse than households headed by British-born citizens, the data also showed.

Another finding was that male migrants to the UK have suffered a less sharp decline in employment since 2007 than native-born men.

Across OECD countries, 13.2 per cent of the total populations are foreign-born. The proportion of foreign-born people in the UK is just below the average.