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05.11.13

Benefit tourism claims ‘disconnected from reality” – UCL

Immigrants from the European Economic Area (EEA) contributed £8.8bn more than they received in benefits, a new study shows.

The Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration at University College London (UCL) examined the net fiscal cost or benefit from arrivals between 1995 and 2011.

The report, written by Professor Christian Dustmann and Dr Tommaso Frattini, found that recent immigrants were 45% less likely to receive state benefits or tax credits than people native to the UK.

Prof Dustmann said: “Our research shows that in contrast with most other European countries, the UK attracts highly educated and skilled immigrants from within the EEA as well as from outside. What’s more, immigrants who arrived since 2000 have made a very sizeable net fiscal contribution and therefore helped to reduce the fiscal burden on UK-born workers.

“Our study also suggests that over the last decade or so the UK has benefitted fiscally from immigrants from EEA countries, who have put in considerably more in taxes and contributions than they received in benefits and transfers.

“Given this evidence, claims about ‘benefit tourism’ by EEA immigrants seem to be disconnected from reality.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We are building an immigration system that works in the national interest, with net migration down by a third since its peak in 2010.

“We have tightened immigration routes where abuse was rife while still encouraging the brightest and best to come here to study and work, but more needs to be done.

“This is why the immigration bill will prevent migrants from using public services which they are not entitled to and reduce the factors which draw people to the UK.”

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