Immigrants to EU countries less likely to live on benefits

Immigrants to the European Union are, for the most part, less likely to live on welfare than the native population, according to academic research due to be published which challenges the idea that benefits are a “pull factor” for migration.

The study, Unemployment Benefits and Immigration: Evidence from the EU, says there is no correlation between levels of unemployment benefit and immigration. It is based on figures from 18 EU countries plus Switzerland and is due to be published in the International Journal of Manpower. It covers the years between 1999 and 2007.

All three main British party leaders have accepted the need to control migrants’ access to public services, including benefits, arguing that generous benefits in the UK act as a draw for some migrants. But the study finds rates of people receiving benefits are statistically higher for non-EU migrants in just seven countries and in none of them if only unemployment benefit is taken into account. The findings suggest that the causal effect between social welfare spending and immigration is statistically insignificant; in other words, there is no evidence of a “welfare magnet”.

Denmark, Finland, Germany and Sweden are the only countries in which there are higher (and statistically significant) rates of benefits receipt among migrants.

The British government has been accused of pandering to prejudice and failing to find coherent evidence to back its justifications for narrowing migrant access to hospitals, social housing and unemployment benefit.

Read the full article here.

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