Fact: According to the ILO, low skilled migrants do “dirty, dangerous and difficult jobs, which locals do not want – crop picking, care work, cleaning.” Meanwhile highly skilled migrants fill chronic labour shortages in healthcare, education and IT. Nearly a third of UK doctors and 13 per cent of nurses are foreign born. The NHS would collapse without immigrants. What of the strain “they” put on services? Not borne out by evidence. Immigrants go where there are jobs, not benefits.
Fact: The World Bank estimates that if immigrants increased the workforce of wealthy countries by 3 per cent, that would boost world GDP by $356 billion by 2025. Further, a meta-analysis of several independent mathematical models suggests that removing all barriers to immigration would increase world GDP by between 50 and 150 per cent.
Fact: Just 3.3 per cent of the world’s population are migrants, little more than in 1990. Even within the EU, where citizens are free to live wherever they want, only 2.8 per cent reside outside their own country.
“The idea that, without border controls, everyone moves is contradicted by the evidence,” says Phillippe Legrain of the London School of Economics. “Sweden is 6 times richer than Romania and, despite free movement within the EU being permissible, Romania is not depopulated.”
Fact: The Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development, which represents 34 of the world’s richest nations, calculates that its immigrants on average pay as much in taxes as they take in benefits. Research suggests that EU workers in the UK take less in benefits than native Brits do. Based on recent numbers, Britain should conservatively expect 140,000 net immigrants a year for the next 50 years.
Fact: The Office for Budget Responsibility, the UK’s fiscal watchdog, calculates that if that number doubled, it would cut UK government debt by almost a third while stopping immigration would increase our debt by almost 50 per cent.
Fact: Immigrants largely aren’t to blame for housing and school place shortages. These are just as much a direct result of government cuts, underinvestment and austerity. The global economic crash wasn’t caused by immigrants, either.