Cameron's tougher rules on immigration could threaten the UK's recovery

Prime Minister David Cameron today said that there are "concerns, deeply held, that some people might be able to come and take advantage of our generosity without making a proper contribution to our country". While many are concerned about immigration, these concerns do not tally up with the evidence.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research's Jonathan Portes:

  • migrants represent about 13% of all workers, but only 7% percent of out-of-work claimants;
  • migrants from outside the EEA represent about 9-10% of all workers, but about 5% of out-of-work claimants
  • foreign nationals from outside the EEA represent about 4.5% of all workers, but a little over 2% of out-of-work benefit claimants.

(Not the Treasury View)

Pursuing immigrants with "tough" rules is to attack a strawman. Placing limits on the movement of people is damaging in the same way as controlling international trade once was. The Adam Smith Institute's Sam Bowman:

We should reject the false choice presented by opponents of immigration between a fortress Britain and being "swamped" by immigrants. Fears of the welfare state being overrun are misplaced and do not reflect the reality that immigrants are actually helping to support state services. Immigrants to Britain pay more in taxes to the state than they consume in services – and since the average immigrant to Britain is young, we are counting on increased immigration to support our aging population.

(New Statesman)