Mass immigration is a heavy cost to the taxpayer and a threat to social cohesion


August 24, 2021

  • 7 in 10 overseas-born people living here first came for reasons other than to work (although many will have eventually moved into employment).
  • Immigration is a huge fiscal cost to the UK despite immigrants being younger than the overall population and much more likely to be of working age
  • The failure to control immigration from all parts of the world is a serious threat to the cohesion of our society
  • London, the West Midlands and the North West especially have seen major population churn over a relatively short period
  • The total populations of the South East and East of England have each increased by around a million over the past two decades

Seven in ten non-UK born people in the UK first came for reasons other than to work.

A new Migration Watch UK paper (MW494 - From which parts of the world have migrants come?)finds that more than six million of the nine million non-UK born people in 2019/20 first came to the UK for other reasons. These will include accompanying or joining relatives, to study or to claim asylum.

It should be added that many of those who stated they came for reasons other than to work will have eventually moved into employment. The number of non-UK born estimated by the ONS to be in work was just under six million (Labour Force Survey, estimate for 2019/20).

However, that would still leave a considerable number of people not working. Since holding a job is an important part of integration, this is not helpful to cohesion. Nor does it (along with the prevalence of lower-waged work) make immigration an overall fiscal benefit to the UK.

Ahead of the Home Office’s publication of new visa statistics on Thursday 26 August, our paper analyses where the UK’s migrant populations have come from, the reasons so many people have come here since 2001 and also where populations of different backgrounds have settled.

Also included are the following findings:

  1. An extensive body of research has consistently found that immigration is a huge fiscal cost to the UK despite immigrants being younger than the overall population and much more likely to be of working age. Immigration represented an overall net fiscal cost of between £4 billion and £13 billion per year for 2016/17 and 2014/15 respectively, depending upon assumptions made by the authors concerned.
  2. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of the nine million or so foreign-born population were born outside the EU; just over a third (38%) were EU born according to recent estimates.
  3. Since 2001/2 the Eastern European-born population rose by over a million, the South Asian-born population by 780,000 and the Sub Saharan African-born population by 520,000.
  4. In the last two decades, the share of births involving at least one non-UK born parent in England and Wales has increased from just over a fifth to just over a third.
  5. Also included is an analysis of the areas of the UK which have been most affected by immigration (Tables 5 & 6). Areas which indicate significant population churn are London, the West Midlands and the North West.

Commenting, Alp Mehmet, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:

This paper shows the huge size and mix of the foreign-born population now resident in Britain. The task of integrating millions of new arrivals into our society is huge. It is now absolutely essential to reduce the current massive inflow. And yet, the government have thrown open the doors of our labour market.

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