Immigration and the Economy - Main Points

The below summary was last updated September 2019

  • Despite many misleading claims to the contrary, the research consensus is that immigration overall has been and continues to be a significant annual fiscal cost for the UK. A paper published by the government in 2018 estimated that the immigrant population in the UK added £4.3 billion to the UK’s fiscal deficit in 2016/17.
  • Immigration into lower-skilled work does not benefit the UK’s GDP per capita, a key measure of economic performance. Indeed, growth in GDP per capita effectively stalled over the past decade, despite the fact that during this period net migration into the UK reached an all-time record level (of 342,000 in 2015).
  • Arguments that immigration UK is vital for the UK economy, in particular that it is bound to enhance productivity, are often exaggerated. Productivity has essentially flat-lined in recent years despite the number of immigrant workers growing by more than two million since 2006.

Immigration and the Economy Research


Over the 23 years that Migration Watch UK has been working in this field we have produced many papers.

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