Immigrants send £4 billion a year home. Remittances rise to £11m a day

June 01, 2009

New research (Briefing Paper {157} published today shows that immigrants are now sending home a record £4 billion a year – almost doubling over the last decade – that is almost £11 million a day.

This figure is nearly two thirds the amount that the UK Government spends on overseas aid - £6.3 billion in 2008. In comparison, £4 billion is approximately the cost of the two new aircraft carriers planned for the Royal Navy. Furthermore, even this sum is likely to be an underestimate as it does not include money sent from the UK by unofficial banking channels.

‘We are not suggesting that remittances should be stopped, they are an important source of revenue for many families across the world, but claims that there are only positive economic benefits from mass immigration are clearly untrue and factors such as we describe here clearly point in the opposite direction,’ said Sir Andrew Green, chairman of think tank Migrationwatch who produced the report.

This research joins a growing body of work that has highlighted the economic ‘benefits’ claimed by supporters of record immigration levels are at best illusory.

For example last year the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs found “no evidence” that net immigration generates significant economic benefits for the existing UK population. The Government’s own evidence showed that the benefit of immigration is marginal – annual extra production equivalent to just 62p per head a week.

Said Sir Andrew: ‘For years we have been told that immigration can only benefit the economy. But when the evidence is examined, that claim falls apart. As employment of foreign born workers has risen, employment of UK born workers has fallen. And now we find that remittances have shot up as immigrants have sent savings home. So much for the benefits of uncontrolled immigration.’

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