EU migrants good for UK economy

Poles, Czech and others who moved here after the EU expanded in 2004 have paid far more in taxes than they received in benefits, academics at University College London found.

Professor Christian Dustmann said those who emigrate to the UK make a "substantial net contribution to the UK fiscal system".

Prof Dustmann said in 2008-09, arrivals from new EU members the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia paid 37 per cent more in taxes than they took in welfare payments and from public services.

"From the fiscal point of view, this emigration has not been at all a burden on the welfare system. Rather, it has contributed to strengthen the fiscal position."

In the report Prof Dustmann found emigrants were, on average, younger and better educated than the native population, but also prepared to work for much lower wages – on average a third less. After a year in the UK, their job prospects improved significantly and their average wages increased, he said.

The emigrants are also 60 per cent less likely to claim benefits.

The study of arrivals between 2004 and 2008 found that about 90 per cent of working-age men and 75 per cent of working-age women were employed.

Prof Dustmann concluded that during the recession migrant workers may fare better in the employment market than native Britons because of their better skills and qualifications.


The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visas and immigration services.