European immigrants to the UK have contributed more than £20bn to public finances and pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits, according to new research.
The study, by the UCL centre for research and analysis of migration (CReAM) and published today (5 November) in the Economic Journal, found that between 2001 and 2011 European immigrants contributed 64 per cent more in taxes than they received in benefits.
It found that the labour from European immigrants would have cost the UK £6.8bn in the equivalent spending on education.
And it concluded that immigrants help to relieve the fiscal burden on UK-born workers and contribute to the financing of public services.
Immigrants who arrived since 2000 were 43 per cent less likely than UK-born citizens to receive state benefits or tax credits, and they were also seven per cent less likely to live in social housing.
Co-author of the study, Professor Christian Dustmann, said a key concern in the public debate on migration is whether immigrants contribute their fair share to the tax and welfare systems.
“Our new analysis draws a positive picture of the overall fiscal contribution made by recent immigrant cohorts, particularly of immigrants arriving from the EU.
“Immigration to the UK since 2000 has been of substantial net fiscal benefit, with immigrants contributing more than they have received in benefits and transfers. This is true for immigrants from central and eastern Europe as well as the rest of the EU.
“European immigrants, particularly, both from the new accession countries and the rest of the European Union, make the most substantial contributions.
“This is mainly down to their higher than average labour market participation compared with natives and their lower receipt of welfare benefits.”