OECD finds fiscal impact of immigration is positive

Migration into the world’s largest economies grew by two per cent in 2011 to four million, with recent data pointing to a similar increase in 2012, according to the latest immigration outlook report from OECD.

In the UK, migration fell by 31 per cent in 2011 to 166,900. The top nationalities coming into the country as a percentage of the total in 2011 were India, China and Pakistan.

Long-term unemployment has risen sharply among migrants, with the share of unemployed migrants out of work for a year increasing from 31 per cent in 2008 to 44 per cent in 2012.

This might at first seem fuel for the fire of anti-immigration proponents, but the OECD also examines the impact of international migration on welfare spending. In almost all countries (including the UK), immigration has a positive fiscal impact, with immigrants paying more in taxes than they take in welfare benefits.

Further, increasing the employment levels of migrants could generate significant economic returns. The OECD advises governments to concentrate on measures like language and professional training, particularly for younger migrants, and fighting discrimination in the employment process.