Economic characteristics of migrants in the UK


July 21, 2015

Research into the economic characteristics of migrants in the UK was issued by Migration Watch UK today.

This ground breaking research shows that while, of course, individuals from all backgrounds can and do succeed economically, overall the groups with 'weaker' economic characteristics comprise nearly 5 million adults, outnumbering those with 'stronger' economic characteristics by two to one.

Assessments of the current and future economic impact of immigration to the UK often assume that there is not much difference between migrants and the rest of the UK population, or else differences are glossed over while saying that, overall, the migrant population tends to be younger and thus more likely to be working. However, such assessments rarely take into account either the type of employment or the rewards of it and so overlook considerable differences between groups as well as the likely cost of benefits for some of them.

While much debate is conducted in terms that distinguish between EU and non-EU migration, it is clear that the picture is not simple, with both groups containing a mix of countries whose migrants to the UK exhibit very different characteristics.

Key points include:

  • The group of migrants in the UK from Western Europe, India, South Africa and the ‘Anglosphere’ countries of US, Australia, and New Zealand exhibit strong economic characteristics overall - they have high rates of employment at good wages and low rates of benefit claim
  • Migrants from Eastern Europe also have high rates of employment but they have lower wages and higher rates of benefit claim than those born in the UK.
  • Migrants from Africa (apart from South Africa) have overall employment rates and wages on a par with the UK-born, but much higher rates of benefit claim.
  • Migrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh have lower rates of employment combined with lower wages and higher rates of benefit claim. [1]

Commenting, Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:

This analysis clearly demonstrates that sweeping claims implying that all immigration to the UK is beneficial cannot possibly be right. Any sensible policy should take account of the real differences in economic characteristics between migrants from different parts of the world. If immigration policy has been intended to attract only “the brightest and the best” it has clearly failed, with a very large number of migrants earning less or claiming more than the British born. The clear message of this research is that immigration can be reduced substantially while permitting entry to those migrants that our economy really needs.



Notes

  1. The groupings selected are those used by the Office for National Statistics in its quarterly reporting of migrants in the UK labour market. The largest components of 'Rest of the world' in order of adult population size in the UK are: Sri Lanka, Philippines, China, Jamaica, Turkey, Hong Kong, Iraq, Canada, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Brazil, Russia and Thailand, ranging from 126,000 to 40,000.
  1. The groupings selected are those used by the Office for National Statistics in its quarterly reporting of migrants in the UK labour market. The largest components of 'Rest of the world' in order of adult population size in the UK are: Sri Lanka, Philippines, China, Jamaica, Turkey, Hong Kong, Iraq, Canada, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Brazil, Russia and Thailand, ranging from 126,000 to 40,000.

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