Even a four-year ‘emergency brake’ is unlikely to have much impact on net migration from the EU

February 02, 2016

An ‘emergency brake’ on in-work benefits, even for four years, is unlikely to have any significant effect on levels of migration, according to a report by Migration Watch UK.

The new research finds that 50 per cent of those who have arrived in the past four years were single. Even on the minimum wage their entitlement to in-work benefits is only about £10 a week.

Another 25 per cent were couples without children. Working couples have no entitlement to benefits.

As for the remaining 25 per cent who arrived in the last four years and have children, the amount of their benefits depends on their income. Some families on middle or high incomes would be entitled to little or no benefits. If they were single earner families on the minimum wage, their benefits could amount to almost half of their family income. Nevertheless, given the wage differentials between Eastern Europe and the UK and the ready availability of jobs, it might still be worth their while to come to Britain.

Those who do come will be aware that the graduated system means that their benefits will increase over a number of years. This is likely to be an incentive for them to prolong their stay.

Lord Green of Deddington, Chair of Migration Watch UK, said:

The proposals in these documents would have very little effect on EU immigration even if the full brake were to last for four years. This draft deal certainly does not provide a means of control which is what most members of the public wish to see.

To read the full paper, click here

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