Maybe the immigration rope has been pulled too often by politicians and UKIP this year; whatever it is, the fact checking on immigration seems to be taking place more than before. Channel 4 has a great fact check based on the latest UCL figures, that show that overall, EU migrants contribute to the UK economy, and although overall non-EU migrants take more than they put in, when you put it all together (in a nutshell) migrants put in more than they take out. An excerpt:
“The big take-home messages are that: a) the big wave of immigration from central and Eastern Europe after 2004 was good for the UK economy and b) native-born Britons are a bigger drain on the state than immigrants.
One important point: the researchers say that all their figures are likely to under-estimatethe long-term economic contribution made by immigrants, because it’s impossible to track what happens to their children.
British-born descendants of immigrants tend to do better at school and may well go on to make a higher net contribution to the economy than natives.”
I wonder if the reason that non-EEA migrants take out more than they put in is because over time they become residents and eligible for benefits here. They become British. (Because I’m pretty sure you’re not eligible for benefits before you get indefinite leave to remain). Which leads me to the last two paragraphs. The reason you can’t track what happens to the children of immigrants is because they become British. And this shows the limits of the economic argument. When do we stop counting? When do you belong?