December 30, 2013
UK Wages and Benefits a Magnet to Two Million Romanians and Bulgarians in Spain and Italy
Some of the two million Romanian and Bulgarian migrants in Spain and Italy may find the lure of Britain difficult to resist. This is the conclusion of a new report from the think tank Migration Watch UK It finds that a Romanian who is currently working in Spain or Italy could earn between 40% and 50% more by moving to the UK.
Access to out of work benefits has been closed off for three months by recent government action but this does not affect in-work benefits. The UK remains the most lucrative destination for Romanian and Bulgarian migrants across the European Union, netting migrants more in salary and in- work benefits than in any other major European country, including France, Germany and the Netherlands.
The study shows that single migrants from Romania and Bulgaria earning half the average wage can earn five times more in the UK than they can at home, a wage topped up by the UK’s generous tax credit system for low earners. This compares to France, Germany and Ireland where wages are four times higher than in Romania and Bulgaria.
A worker with a spouse and two children on half the average wage in Romania or Bulgaria would be three times better off in Spain or Italy but six times better off in the UK. Furthermore, unemployment rates, and especially youth unemployment rates, are much lower in the UK than in Spain or Italy; they are lower still in the Netherlands and Germany.
Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK said “This study shows how Britain’s generous benefits system acts as a pull factor for migrants from across Europe. There must now be a re-negotiation of the benefit system in the EU which was designed before 100 million people in much poorer countries joined the EU. British taxpayers must no longer subsidise immigration from poorer parts of the EU.”
Note to Editors:
On 1 January 2014 transitional controls on the employment of Romanians and Bulgarians will end. Migration Watch UK have previously made a central estimate that 50,000 a year will come in the first five years http://www.migrationwatchuk.co.uk/briefing-paper/4.17.