Opinion: We must end our silence on brain gain

There is a certain phrase that summarises the immigration debate for me;  the one that goes ‘I’m not racist but….’  that gives people the opportunity to make comments that could otherwise be offensive.  We’re now seeing a sophisticated anti-immigration stance from other parties where they simply structure in racist comments and defend it as just being anti-immigration. For me this is what they tried to do with the ‘go home’ van ad campaign.

However as a party we’re not putting up much of a fight against this, and have been silent for some time, unless we’re responding to the campaigns of other parties.  I wanted to speak up about this because we’ve actually got to the point where one of our ‘achievements’ of being in coalition is a reduction in immigration, and that’s something that I don’t want to stand for.  However we have to be careful as soon as we mention immigration, as we run the risk of stirring things up.

However there is another debate going on, that doesn’t have the same negative impact, and that is the Brain Gain v Brain Drain debate.  This debate is much more interesting as it’s something that has been taken up by Universities.  Research was done around 1999/2000 which showed that overall the UK was in brain drain as measured by the import/export of researchers.  It was this that lead to a new fund set up by the Department of Trade and Industry and Wolfson Foundation for initiatives which by 2004 had reversed this trend.

However universities are uniquely able to measure if there is a brain gain, but in wider industry this is more difficult.  This is a big problem, and the data published by the Office for National Statistics cannot support this level of detail.  As a result we are left with pseudo-debates which are mono-cultured based on simply reinforcing our original beliefs.  Instead we need to develop more public-private initiatives to encourage brain gain, such as those in Cochin, India with the development of  a large scale business zone, or in the USA with Silicon Valley, California.

Brain circulation’ has also been attributed to the success of the Indian economy whereby exchanges in skills lead to a net brain gain.  Multi-national companies already see the benefit of brain exchanges within their company, but with small to medium companies the incentives are a little more woolly and need support.  More initiatives could be set up by the Department of Trade and Industry in the UK, developing knowledge hubs which encourage brains to come to the UK, and also working with international governments to encourage exchanges which provide mutual benefit particularly in the EU. These could build on initiatives already in place.

It’s through these sort of initiatives that we can change the debate.  The current debate, which has at its centre the aim of reducing  immigration, damages our ability to develop brain gain through, for example, a heavy handed approach to issuing visas. It’s these issues that I think we, as a party, should be aware of before we start promoting immigration reduction as an achievement of government, and instead we need to find ways of promoting the real benefits of immigration, and stop our silence.

* Colin Gell is a Lib Dem member in Stockport, and blogs at www.trepidation.co.uk

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  • The problem is that a ‘brain gain’ for Britain implies a ‘brain drain’ for someone else – probably a developing countyr.

  • In my view “I’m not racist, but…” is a massive red flag for racism. Anyone saying that phrase is about to espouse some racist view, knows that racism is bad, and is thus seeking to preemptively calm down tensions they know their racist view will inflame. Speaking personally, it just makes me more likely to judge a comment racist. So when you say the phrase “gives people the opportunity to say things that would otherwise be offensive” I take slight issue with that. The person using that phrase is usually saying something that they know is wrong and offensive but they use that phrase so they can say it anyway despite knowing it is wrong and offensive. In my view this just makes it MORE offensive.

    Same goes for “I’m not sexist, but…” and “I’m not homophobic, but…”

    Regarding the substantive point of your post: it’s true that immigration/emigration are only spoken of in negative terms in general discourse and we as a party ought to be trying to do more to change that. I’ll not hold my breath though in the current UKIP-fuelled climate. Sadly.

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th Aug '13 - 10:22am

    As a thought experiment, let’s take this to the limit. If we got rid of all the people in this country who are not very intelligent, and replaced them by more intelligent people from other countries, we would see a great economic improvement. Lose all those people who are drains on the economy, requiring welfare support and giving little back in return, gain people who are productive and hard working.

    Those who are safe and secure in their jobs and wealth here, the social and financial elite, might think this a good idea. Can anyone reading this think why others in this country might not think it a good idea?

    There are two famous quotes which might be considered here:

    “It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it.”

    “The people had forfeited the confidence of the government and could win it back only by redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier in that case for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?”

    The concern here is that we are moving to a position where it is considered all that matters if for government to look after the interests of business that happens to be based in this country, and if it does that it can say the economy is working well and government is doing a good job.

    I believe that the prime duty of the government of our country is to protect the interests of the people of this country, all of them. Protecting the interests of business in this country is a secondary duty that supports this. If protecting the interests of business becomes its prime duty, then we have in effect colonialism: the government of the country existing primarily to extract as much wealth out of it as it can, and pass that on to an elite which is not necessarily based there. Remember that the British Empire was defended in terms that could be called “brain gain”, it was painted as helping other countries in the world develop by importing to them British expertise, with those natives who objected to this being just old-fashioned types who did not understand the necessity of adapting to the modern world.

    As I said, this is a thought experiment. I am not really saying we should shut the immigration doors. However, by raising these thoughts I hope I can get people to see why many in this country don’t see immigration in such benign terms as most people who read this site do. Most of us reading this site, most people who are active in liberal politics, are socially and financially secure, we are well above average in this. We find it hard to understand the insecurity of people who are not as well off as we are. Most of us are terrified of being thought of as being “racist”, it is part of our consideration of ourselves as being enlightened people that we think we do not judge by race, however I suspect a fair number of us have an inner terror of the possibility of being racist because in reality we move in circles which are predominantly white. Sometimes this means we find it hard to discuss topics like this in a rational way, and are too ready to dismiss those who try to do it as motivated by racism. The consequences are that those less comfortable than ourselves and who, for reasons I’ve tried to raise above, do have concerns about immigration that should not be written off as entirely illegitimate, are led to feel that liberals and the political left do not care for them, and then become easy targets for those who are enemies of liberalism and the political right to work on gaining their support.

  • ^ Excellent post Matthew. Excellent.

  • The problem with the analogy in the comment above above, “if we got rid of all the people in this country who are not very intelligent, and replaced them by more intelligent people from other countries…” is that we’re not getting rid of people. We’re just bringing them in. So the ‘thought experiment’ is completely flawed as an analogy. A more accurate one would be ‘imagine we brought in intelligent people from other countries to live and work alongside our existing inhabitants’. Which is just as much in the interests of the existing population as it is in the interests of the immigrant population.

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th Aug '13 - 2:57pm


    The problem with the analogy in the comment above above, “if we got rid of all the people in this country who are not very intelligent, and replaced them by more intelligent people from other countries…” is that we’re not getting rid of people.

    Yes, so what are we doing with them? Note that your ‘imagine we brought in intelligent people from other countries to live and work alongside our existing inhabitants’ describes what was done under colonialism, it was regarded as a way to develop and civilise the natives.

    Isn’t there a problem that instead of paying the taxation necessary and putting in their own training in order to develop skills here, companies take the cheaper route of just importing those skills? At the unskilled end of the employment range, instead of recruiting and training the lower abilities natives here and developing a general work ethics culture, employers find there are plenty of high ability people in other countries willing to come and do menial jobs here for a few years – either their own countries are poorer, or they are willing to do it while living here to learn English. In inner London this means it is very unusual to find any service where the person serving you is British.

  • @Matthew
    “employers find there are plenty of high ability people in other countries willing to come and do menial jobs here for a few years”

    I take it by “menial job” you include those that require a degree and a few years experience?
    That is why I don’t understand why any young adult resident in the UK supports unrestrained mass immigration; its just another reason why 20 something’s can’t afford a house….

  • Colin
    “one of our ‘achievements’ of being in coalition is a reduction in immigration, and that’s something that I don’t want to stand for.”

    Why? I would of thought creating some form of order out of a chaotic and unsustainable situation would be a reason to be seen to stand up for. Or are you just a closet supporter of NuLabour’s social engineering policy?

  • Roland, No I just don’t see why people don’t see the benefits of immigration as there is definitely a link with developing societies and economies, and I just don’t see why you’d want to reverse this.

    Matthew, immigration is seen as benign by those more well off, but this is a result of these sorts of debates only happening in academia. I think we need policies that put brain gain into the private sector, and I think then we’ll see everyone start to benefit from it, and peoples views will change. IMHO

  • Colin, I think you are being blinded by the zealots! There are benefits of having foreign nationals participate in British society its economy (and British nationals participating in foreign societies and their economies), however this does not automatically mean that immigration at the levels we have witnessed since 1997 is a good thing. In fact your argument for brain gain supports the case for restricting immigration…

  • Hi Roland, I’m not as convinced as you that we would have more brain gain if we had less immigration. The main reason for this is that we are in a globalised economy, and it’s trends internationally that we have to respond too. If we don’t have people coming in to keep us a breast with what’s going on else where in the world then we do run the risk of falling behind. Personally my own interactions with foreign nationals has always left me better developed so I’ve got no personal experience of anything bad from immigration.

  • Hi Colin, The challenge is to winnow the grain from the chaff! I found the data contained in a recent home office/UKBA consultation interesting as it suggested that even with the high levels of net immigration, they were still not seeing over subscription for the skilled categories of visas, which represented only a tiny amount of the current total immigration figure, but a much more significant proportion of the pre-1997 figures. So I suspect that we can actually be quite harsh on total immigration and have very little effect on the numbers of skilled applicants.

  • I think that this is the wrong issue because it isn’t what people are talking about when they say there is an immigration problem. It appears that skilled non-EEA nationals are restricted but people are complaining about the EEA nationals and that problem can’t be solved by an immigration policy. If we accept the analysis of Matthew Huntbach (comment on a different LDV article) then the problem is economic with people from other EU countries being recruited because British companies feel they are better workers than British people, therefore the solution is to make British people more employable and ensure they wish to apply for the jobs.

    I believe that the second part can be addressed by encouraging the payment of the Living Wage and increasing the Minimum Wage more than the rate of inflation so over five years it reaches the present non-London Living Wage. The first part can be addressed in two ways by paying employers part of the cost of training of employees and giving loans on the same basis as student loans to the rest of the population to pay for training courses.

  • Roland, we can do it without having to have any harshness on immigration, we rather work to develop hubs of employment opportunities that are very attractive to talent. I’m still a softie for international equality, but we can have our cake, and eat it!

  • Amalric, I think that the UK has more than adequately qualified workforce with much of the population staying in education for along time. I think there is a separate issue where employers simply find it impossible to identify the staff that they want, however the solution could be intermingled with the development of industry specific communities, or hubs whereby internationals could add to the community.

  • Colin, I used “harsh” more to mean our approach to slashing total numbers, not necessarily in our treatment of individuals.

    Obviously, one of the irritations we have with an informed debate seems to be the lack of granular data in which we can have some confidence and the lack of any real commitment by government to collect such data (although having people performing simple checks at tube stations could if done correctly provide some more reliable statistical data). I for one would like to see the student numbers separated out, as this group are financially contributing to our economy and could be seen as a longer term investment, hence we should be monitoring this group for trends and swings. There are probably other groups who can also be pulled out and which also make sense to monitor eg. all the various classes of visa’s. Obviously, much of this requires a functioning system of border checks and controls that we can have confidence in…

  • Colin, there are about 2.5 million unemployed but employers still prefer to employ people from the EEA about a third of the time. It is generally accepted that this is because British people either lack the skills needed or the wages are not high enough to cover the costs of having a family in the UK and a home here. I am trying to find solutions to these problems.

    I am not aware that employers head hunt the majority of their staff. They normally advertise and receive applications. “Hubs” are not required. Of course employers can register on some online employment sites and search for people who have registered there.

  • Matthew Huntbach 22nd Aug '13 - 6:18pm


    If we accept the analysis of Matthew Huntbach (comment on a different LDV article) then the problem is economic with people from other EU countries being recruited because British companies feel they are better workers than British people, therefore the solution is to make British people more employable and ensure they wish to apply for the jobs.

    No, you’ve missed my point. But even if you hadn’t, here’s a flaw in that – why should British industry pay taxes to fund training of British people when they could just import people trained elsewhere, with the training done at other countries’ expense?

    The point you’ve missed however, is that people come in a range of abilities. There are people who are just not very capable. However much you train someone who is in the lowest quartile of intelligence, you are not going to make that person as attractive a prospect for employment as someone in the uppermost quartile. If there are people in the upper quartile of intelligence in other countries willing to come and do menial jobs here, why would employers turn them down in favour of people in the lowest quartile from here, however much training you’ve given them?

    If we were a country which had its own language that few other people spoke, there would be an argument that employing people from the lowest quartile is still a good idea because at least they can communicate with those they must work with. However, our language has become the world’s universal language. One reason people from other countries are so willing to come here is that they are likely to have enough English to get by, or they may want to come here partly in order to learn it.

  • Amalric, I think unemployment is an issue, and there is allot of hardship because of these issues; however if people are migrating here to work they are contributing to our economy which actually means more jobs for everyone.

    Roland, i gave the university brain gain debate specifically because they carry out so much research into brain gain/drain and i believe it’s as a result of this which is why they now thrive from immigration. I think we need similar research within the private sector, but I think the initiatives would have to be central government funded.

  • Colin Gell

    If the number of people who work here from other EEA countries continue to increase then there will always be UK citizens here who are unemployed because the economy will not have a maximum aggregate demand. The employment of one person will not generate an equal job for someone else. Therefore for those UK citizens it will always be better for them to have the job than for someone from another EEA country to have it. However if there was no pool of unemployed people then you would be correct it would be better for everyone here for an EEA national to be employed here.

    Matthew Huntbach

    Please accept my apologies for re-interpreting your analysis. It is my understanding that British companies advertise in the UK before advertising in foreign countries and it is on this basis that I offer my possible solution. Employers say they have to advertise outside of the UK because either people here do not have the required skills or no one applies. Of course they may be giving untruthful reasons but until we can clearly demonstrate that these are not the true reasons we should address them.

    Employers are not saying we advertise in foreign countries because the applications are of a higher calibre (I do recognise that they do comment that the work ethics of foreigners is better than people from the UK) and therefore currently I don’t think it should be addressed and I don’t know how to address it as part of the EU. However I do agree that employers are most likely to employ the more intelligent all things being equal assuming they don’t believe that the more intelligent will leave after a short period. When there are few people unemployed the more intelligent will not be competing for these jobs and the less attractive become more attractive.

    We regard to your first point if training was paid out of taxes the employers would have no choice but to pay the taxes. If your point was why should they pay to train people rather than employ those trained in other countries? I believe that companies gain other advantages from training their own staff and sometimes because they feel part of their community and wish to contribute to it.

  • Amalric, surely The employment of one person WILL generate an equal job for someone else. I don’t see why it wouldn’t generate equal and above new jobs for UK citizens. The more the economy is grown the more job prospects there are available, and it’s a direct correlation. Most companies have business models based on this principle whereby they start of employing the best skilled people they can find in order to grow the company. What I think you need is some sort of safe-guarding for relatively indigenous people, so people don’t end up in aborigine situation where you see peoples culture taken away from them and, leaving people with lazy stigma’s. I think there is a case for when we see cultural imports we need to ensure there is a balance of integration.

  • Colin,
    Using the Keynesian concept of the multiplier it is generally recognised that an increase in GDP will have extra benefits but these are smaller than the original increase. Therefore if someone was paid £15,000 pa the amount they spend in the economy will be less than this and I am saying this wouldn’t be enough to employ another person on the same wage. Therefore there will not be an equal job for someone else.

    I believe I read somewhere that if the economy grew by 1% a year there will be no reduction in unemployment; economic growth needs to be higher than 1% to reduce unemployment. Currently it is generally accepted that lots of people in employment are under employed and that means more can be produced without employing any new people.

    As part of the EU I don’t think we could treat UK citizens differently to EEA citizens with regard to their getting employment.

  • Amalric, your theory wouldn’t be true in the private sector, but it could be true in the public sector. For example if the government started employing people to just shuffle some papers about then you’d end up in a situation where the only economic output people have is what they are spending in the shop. However as long as people are productive and, producing an output then that’s where you see increased employability.

    In the private sector
    If you take a scenario where someone is paid £15,000 pa if they bring in £20,000pa for the business then the business can employ another person because the employer now knows that the next person they employ will bring in another £20,000pa for the business. Hence the employer now makes £10,000pa from employing 2 people, and employer can continue to employ more people until they don’t think they’ll get that return any more.

    Definitely under employment is an issue, and getting these people in full employment is important, and that could lead to increased productivity, but obviously in this circumstance you’d have to be careful not to get into the multiplier effect you mentioned.

    Basically we need a version of economics which doesn’t have the downside of this multiplier effect, and means we don’t have to have the scenario where we have to lock out EEA citizens. Libdem economics does achieve this aim, and means we can have policy which can use immigration to grow the economy and, increase job prospects for all.

  • Colin,
    Firstly the multiplier is not my creation but is recognised by all economists and was used to create full employment after the Second World War until the 1970’s. It is a good thing. It is based on how much extra demand is created in the economy. The extra income generated for the company cannot just be used for employing another person and it would be normal to pay the salary (costs) out of the income. A person earning £15,000 has to pay some money to the government and will spend some on imports and these do not generate demand in the home economy, they may save some and that does not generate demand. Therefore the demand created in the economy is less than £15,000. However you wish to consider the extra £5,000 generated from what is produced. Some of this is going to be profit say £1,000 and again some of this will go to the government, into savings, on imports. For the £4,000 that was used to buy the raw materials at each stage there are the same “leakages”. Of course there may be extra “leakages” with foreign workers because they may send some money home. There are therefore no economic advantages from employing a foreign worker to employing a home worker but there are likely to be disadvantages. Of course there is another advantage from employing a home worker if they were unemployed and that is the savings to the government of the benefit they received.

    It could be argued that it would be better if EEA citizens could find employment in their own countries and so increase their economy and some of the leakage – imports would be exports from the UK.

  • Malcolm Todd 24th Aug '13 - 2:18pm

    “Amalric, your theory wouldn’t be true in the private sector, but it could be true in the public sector. For example if the government started employing people to just shuffle some papers about then you’d end up in a situation where the only economic output people have is what they are spending in the shop.” (Colin Gell)

    It’s a tangent to the point of this post, but can we please drop this tired old mean about “productive” private sector versus “unproductive” public sector? Specifically, most people who work in the public sector (teachers, health care workers, rubbish collectors…) don’t “shuffle paper”, whilst some people who work in the private sector do. (I’m taking “paper-shuffling” to be the usual derogatory reference to all sorts of admin work, and yes, the private sector does admin as well.)

  • Amalric, No my scenario was based on the employee bringing in £20,000pa NET profit for the business and, costing the employer £15,000pa GROSS. The £5,000pa difference is just to symbolise the incentive for the employer to take on a new member of staff who again does the same. This is a typical way of working for most businesses, of course some businesses will loss money, and some will make allot more money but it’s always of the assumption that employers employ more people because they assume they’ll make more money.

    I didn’t think you made up Keynesian multiplier effect up, but I do believe it’s your analysis that’s link’s the multiplier and employment of EEA nationals, and I don’t think all economists share this analysis.

    The concept of EEA citizens gaining employment in their native countries and having leakage back to the UK is a part of the term ‘Brain Circulation’. I think we can achieve this aim in the UK with a very good international ‘cool Britannia’ image that we are enjoying at the moment. However I think it would work better if UK nationals worked overseas, and developed themselves and came back to contribute more to the UK economy.

    Sorry that was a bad reference I shouldn’t have referred to public sector in that way. I do however hold the believe that the public sector doesn’t actually work in that way.

  • Colin,
    Your analysis of how companies work I feel is deeply flawed and businesses do not employ more people by using their profits even assuming there were companies who are making 133.3% net profit in the UK.

    While I have no idea if economists have looked in a Keynesian way at immigration, they would agree with me about “leakages”. There is no way that the 2.5 million unemployed will work in foreign countries especially if they are the least attractive for employment as Matthew Huntbach believes. The idea that foreign countries will import from the UK I believe is based on the idea that foreign students after studying here return home and have good feelings about Britain and its products

    The problem of how large sections of the general public feel about immigration should be addressed and while we can’t stop EEA citizens from coming here we need to do something to try to encourage UK employers to employ UK citizens rather than EEA citizens because it is the idea that foreigners are getting our jobs and our houses that feeds the dislike of immigration. These concerns are legitimate and it is the government’s role to address them and for us to come up with liberal solutions and not utopian solutions.

  • Amalric,

    There is an issue with that the education system in the UK doesn’t make it as easy to identify talent as much as the education system is other countries .

    The housing issue is local to London, and maybe the southeast. In the northwest or in particular Stockport where I am from we’ve seen increases in House Prices but a decline in population, with the only increases in population in the northwest going into areas of good housing stock.

    We do need to listen to the unemployed who believe that foreigners are taking their jobs, as this is part of joined up debate. I believe we should listen as this is their ‘belief’, and we should always listen to that or we risk segregating them.

    Immigration does have positive NET economic gain according to the majority of studies and, is outlined by the ‘migration observatory’ at Oxford university

    Here is an except from IPPR website that you might find aides your point “The MAC (Migration Advisory Committee) confirms the finding from previous studies that immigration does have an effect on wages: it finds no overall effect, but a negative effect on lower-paid workers, offset by a positive effect on higher-paid workers.”

    IPPR does go on to say MAC and NIESR however find no link with EU migrants and, unemployment of UK natives but rather that employment is too complex to be broken down into this debate.

    In summary my opinion would say that immigration does have NET economic gain achieved through migration, however there is evidence via wage levels that this has a disproportionate effect on society. It’s difficult to specify policy on the issue of disproportionate effects at present as data isn’t sufficient, however it is important not to damage the positive effects that immigration has. I would like to see more research into ‘if those with university education are hijacking the benefits of immigration’, and that more needs to be done in with the low paid to understand the benefits of immigration.

  • Colin,
    I couldn’t find anything on http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/ about the economic gain from immigration, perhaps you could give a reference to a study that supports your view that there is an economic gain from immigration into the UK to those UK citizens? You quote the Institute for Public Policy Research without giving an internet reference to it, please can you supply one?

    I note that the Migration Advisory Committee has been commissioned to look at the economic and social impacts of migrates taking up low skilled work. I couldn’t find a recent report by MAC or the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and the effects of immigration on unemployment.

    What I did find was a report by Migration Advisory Committee – “Analysis of the Impact of Migration” January 2012 http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/aboutus/workingwithus/mac/27-analysis-migration/01-analysis-report/analysis-of-the-impacts?view=Binary. The Chairman David Metcalf’s forward (page 1) points out the problems with the idea that immigration is good for the economy. Total GDP and GDP per head both increase. “But it is the immigrants themselves, rather than the extant residents, who are the main gainers.” This report is mainly concerned with non-EU immigrants and concludes that “we find a negative association between working-age migrants and native employment: in depressed economic times; (ii) for non-EU migrants; (iii) for the period 1995-2010. A ballpark estimate is that an extra 100 non-EU working-age migrants are initially associated with 23 fewer native people employed.”

    According to the Migration Observatory there are a number “methodological challenges” with the studies carried out into the impact of immigration on unemployment. “This makes it difficult to establish causality. … correct measurement through local labour market analysis more difficult. … the questionable quality of data on migrant and especially specific subgroups of migrants, which are often based on small samples of the population and can thus lead to significant measurement error.” http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/labour-market-effects-immigration

    It is important not to dismiss what the public think as just a “belief” especially when the research does not exist to refute what they think. As David Metcalf says (page 1) we should look at the impact on extant residents to discover if they are better off due to any “dynamic” effects of immigration … “but they are elusive to measure”.

  • I can’t believe you can’t find anything that shows a overall NET economic gain??????????????

    here’s a recent study carried out by OECD which is pretty comprehensive http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/social-issues-migration-health/international-migration-outlook-2013_migr_outlook-2013-en

    This is IPPR Report: http://www.ippr.org/ecomm/files/Paying%20Their%20Way.pdf which was citied by http://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/fiscal-impact-immigration-uk

    Also I can’t tell what is your point exactly now are you talking about EEA citizens or non-EU migrants I can’t give you coherent responses to your statements. Migration policy is very different between non-EU and EEA citizens from the EU, and it’s a different set of arguments for example the wage levels of both a very different, and the skill levels differ, and the numbers of migrants are also significantly different.

    You’ve got to except that there are benefits to immigration, you simply can’t ignore all the evidence or we’ll get nowhere with any debate on this. I feel like we are in a barter contest on this debate it really needs to be excepting facts from both sides of the argument.

  • Colin,
    The OECD report you give the reference for states, “Overall, it shows that the fiscal impact of immigration is close to zero on average over the OECD. … with the growing focus on skilled labour migration during the past two decades, recent immigrants are more likely to be net fiscal contributors than preceding waves of immigrants.” You talk about a report by the IPPR without quoting from it. The briefing “The Fiscal Impact of Immigration in the UK” by The Migration Observatory states, “The net fiscal impact of immigration is typically estimated as the difference between the taxes and other contributions migrants make to public finances and the costs of the public benefits and services they receive. This impact depends on the characteristics of migrants … In theory, migrants who are young, skilled and doing highly-paid jobs are likely to make a more positive net fiscal contribution than those with low skills and low labour market participation rates. … For the UK (and most other countries), the majority of studies conclude that the overall net fiscal impact of immigration is positive but small.”

    Therefore we could conclude that immigrates mainly end up in employment and people in employment increase total GPD and immigrates as do people in employment have a net fiscal impact on the public finances. Can we both agree this?

    The immigration rules only really allow skilled workers from non-EEA now and therefore things that apply to them may not apply to EU citizens. Also I have quoted from the reports and they distinguish between non-EEA citizens and EU citizens. Therefore I do not understand your problem.

    Your position seems to be that because immigrates increases GNP they only have positive impacts on society. My position is much like that of the Migration Observatory that of course GNP increases but it is the immigrates themselves who benefit and not the native people. I believe that people in employment increase GNP. Most immigrates are in employment. However if there were less immigrates from the EU then more natives would be employed and so GNP would be the same. If the native is no longer unemployed there would be an improved fiscal effect because welfare would not need to be paid to them. My argument is based on the belief that it is better for a person to be employed rather than unemployed and companies employ EU citizens rather than UK natives and we should put in place policies that makes the natives more attractive to employers and ensure natives will apply to counter the arguments used by employers for employing EU citizens rather than natives. I hope your argument is not that employers should employ immigrates rather than natives.

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    Please would people use tinyURL or similar rather than posting immensely long URLs....
  • Michael BG
    Michael Meadowcroft, I have read the three papers you have recently put online. Maybe the two to your regional executive have a more moderate tone. At the...
  • Steve Trevethan
    Thank you for your article. Bearing in mind the thousands that died in the second Iraq war which Mr. C. Powell did so much to facilitate, might it be more ac...
  • Barry Lofty
    As usual with the anti EU stance it is always someone else's fault never the hard done by British, by the way you have to admire the Germans, but they did have ...
  • Martin Frost
    Peter Martin's ' "real scientists" are the ones who agree with his opinion. Open your mind up instead of throwing childish insults....
Thu 28th Oct 2021