Recent immigrants have made a net contribution of £20 billion to the UK over the last ten years, according to a UCL study, and foreigners are barred from several types of benefits without having permanent residency in the UK, unlike those on work visas, students and asylum seekers don't qualify. In 2013, a spokesperson for the European Employment Commissioner said the British Government had “completely failed to come up with any specific evidence” to show that its welfare system was being abused and that EU nationals pay more in tax and other contributions than they receive in benefits.
In that same year, a European Commission report showed that unemployed EU migrants made up less than 5 per cent of migrant claimants across the bloc and that fewer than 38,000 were claiming Jobseeker's Allowance. A leaked Home Office document later admitted that the Government keeps no figures on how many EU nationals claim welfare payments.
A study by University College London estimated that migrants coming to the UK since 2000 have been 43 per cent less likely to claim benefits or tax credits compared to the British-born workforce. “Immigrants, especially in recent years, tend to be younger and better educated than the UK-born and less likely to be unemployed,” the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE concluded in a separate report.
In its 2015 General Election briefing, the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics observed: “There is still no evidence of an overall negative impact of immigration on jobs, wages, housing or the crowding out of public services.
“Any negative impacts on wages of less skilled groups are small. One of the largest impacts of immigration seems to be on public perceptions.”
Its research found that immigrants tend to be better educated and younger than their UK-born counterparts, while their share of the market for new jobs has remained “broadly the same”. Jonathan Portes, the Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, suggested employment fears may stem from the fact that areas with high immigration, such as London, also tend to be where the job market moves more quickly
“It’s fairly obvious that wages are generally higher and jobs easier to come by in areas of high immigration like London, while many low migration areas have relatively depressed labour markets,” he added. “It’s true that, if an immigrant takes a job, then a British worker can’t take that job – but it doesn’t meant he or she won’t find another one that may have been created, directly or indirectly, as a result of immigration.”
A report by LSE in 2013 found that crime actually fell significantly in areas that had experienced mass immigration from eastern Europe, with rates of burglary, vandalism and car theft down since 2004.
UCL’s Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration at University College London found that European immigrants to the UK pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits, effectively subsiding public services.
“A key concern in the public debate on migration is whether immigrants contribute their fair share to the tax and welfare systems”, co-author Professor Christian Dustmann wrote. “Our new analysis draws a positive picture of the overall fiscal contribution made by recent immigrant cohorts, particularly of immigrants arriving from the EU.”
While school places and hospital beds are under pressure in many areas, much of the change arises from rising birth rates, the effects of an ageing population and other factors that local and national government has failed to respond to by expanding provision. Additionally, figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre showed that 11 per cent of NHS staff are not British, including more than a quarter of doctors.
The research concluded that there was “no causal impact of immigration on crime…contrary to the ‘immigration causes crime’ populist view expressed in some media and political debate”. Brian Bell, a LSE research fellow, told the Guardian: “The view that foreigners commit more crime is not true. The truth is that immigrants are just like natives: if they have a good job and a good income they don't commit crime.”
A 2008 report for the Association of Chief Police Officers found that national crime rates have continued to fall despite rising net migration over a number of years. The research found that offending rates among Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian communities were in line with the general population.
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