The Myth of the Immigrant Benefit-Scrounger

18 February 2013

3:42 PM

18 February 2013

3:42 PM

The Sunday Express is at it again. It is outraged that Britain’s prisons contain some inmates who were not born in this country. Of course, everyone is hopping aboard the immigrant-bashing bandwagon these days. Immigration, it sometimes seems, is something to be feared, not valued. I understand the political calculation behind all this. The restrictionists have carried the day and there are few votes in seeming “soft” on immigration these days. Which is a shame. But there you have it.

Nevertheless, the immigration brouhaha increasingly bears more than a passing resemblance to a moral panic. As tends to be the case, such fears are not utterly groundless but they are hyped and exaggerated to a point at which they become irrational and, even, nonsensical. The great Foreigners Clogging Our Prisons, Stealing Our Jobs, Milking Our Benefits, Just Bloody Being Here is one such example.

True, the rate at which Romanians are imprisoned in British prisons suggests some chicanery on the part of some recent arrivals from the Carpathians. But let us not be hysterical about this. Consider the Poles. There are, according to the recent census, some 521,000 Polish-born folk living in the United Kingdom. Last month 807 of them were behind British bars. We might wish that number to be lower but no-one can sensibly claim this demonstrates Britain is enduring – with our usual soft-hearted stoicism or whatnot – some kind of Polish crime wave.


Nor do the benefit figures suggest there are large numbers of Poles for whom spongeing off the state is the chief reason for coming to Britain. It is estimated that there are fewer than 14,000 Poles claiming unemployment benefit. Again, we might wish that number smaller but it is simply untrue to suggest there are large numbers of Poles loafing in Britain and chuckling at the British state’s ill-conceived largesse. Indeed, there are more unemployment claimants in just two Birmingham constituencies (Hodgehill and Ladywood) than there are Poles claiming unemployment benefit in the whole United Kingdom. (Poles, of course, may be different from other nationalities. On the other hand, there are many more of them.)

Of course, there are other benefits besides the Job Seekers’ Allowance. But I’m not sure there’s a strong case for arguing that child benefit or tax credits be withheld from one class of foreigner but not another. If Poles or Romanians are to be subjected to one class of rule why shouldn’t Italians or Frenchmen be treated comparably?

Indeed there is a noteworthy double standard here. It has become quite common to observe politicians and pundits on the right using the rising number of French citizens residing in the United Kingdom (and especially in London) as an example of how flexible British labour markets, British rates of taxation and British entrepreneurial spirit are all evidently superior to the way the (dastardly) French arrange these matters. French emigration to Britain is welcome and proof that Britain is booming; Bulgarian emigration to Britain is proof Britain is a “soft-touch” country desperately needing to close its borders. If as many as 300,000 Frenchies are welcome here, we can cope with a few thousand Romanians coming too.

Again, even those of us relaxed about immigration have to accept that population increase places some additional pressure on services. School places need to be available. So does housing. But these are fixable issues of a kind much less damaging than the consequences of a falling population. And, of course, as can hardly be stressed too often, the “pressure” put on these services in London (for example) is exactly the same whether the capital’s newest arrival has upped sticks from Belfast or Bucharest. (Want to fix the housing problem? Relax planning restrictions.) So what next? Restrictions on internal migration too?

In any case, it is strange to look at immigration as though foreigners only impose costs. Plainly they do not. They meet needs in the labour market. They add to the demand for goods and services. Indeed their net impact is considerable. The British economy is able to take advantage of their skills, their work and their spending without having had to pay for the costs of their education or training. Immigrants are a form of economic stimulus.

Does that mean all immigrants are salt-of-the-earth types? Hardly. There will be some whose presence on these shores we could do without. But tabloid hysteria about an immigrant-fuelled crime-wave or benefit-scrounging is simply that: hysteria. Keeping matters in perspective and retaining a sense of proportion is no fun for the press but tableoid excesses – and lurid individual cases – ought not to blind us to the reality that the vast majority of immigrants to this country are here to work, not to exploit “the system.”

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Show comments
  • Mark D Graham

    My Polish missus is a doctor, EVERY Pole she knows here has a doctorate, be it in medicine or science. Don’t believe the bullshit.

  • chris

    I come from a family of chippy’s and all of us were affected a few years back by Eastern Europeans coming here and undercuttting by 50% .i’ve now retrained and I drive a london cab.Every day I pass the Polish embassy and the que of prams goes right around the corner.Im not a racist and don’t really take much notice of numbers and newspapers as i like to judge situations with my own eyes.sorry if it upsets some
    but it seems a complete pissed take.

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  • Supreme Allah

    “The British economy is able to take advantage of their skills…” I hardly think selling the Big Issue is a skill worth taking advantage of

    • thelaughingllama

      Really? It’s like you didn’t even read any of it. Well I guess you can go back to your Daily Mail now.

  • cdragon

    So as a Visa’d American, with a high-skilled job and 3 higher degrees I would like to point out that immigration is not nearly as simple as people make it out to be. Visa’d nationals have no rights to benefits however we are required to pay tax as well as pay visa fees. Should we find ourselves unemployed or doing poorly on a student visa, we are told to leave. If we do not make what the UK deems an appropriate salary (which increases every year since I have arrived here and which is above the average salary for the position) we are told to leave. Should we want to start a family here, there are income requirements for us and or our partners (whether they are UK nationals or not) we are told to leave. We have a list of jobs we are allowed to take and a longer list ones that are “unsponsorable”. Every year since I have arrived these restrictions have put more and more limitations on those who are coming here to further their education or looking to work jobs where they could earn a living wage. Also as far as things such as “self-employment” and other loop holes, the UK government does not allow that currently for Visa’d immigrants unless a state organization is willing to sponsor you.

    Despite fighting and paying to stay in this country I find it amusing too that I am quite often told I am not a “real immigrant” due to the fact that I am pale and a native English speaker. At the end of the day the Eastern Europeans and Somali’s are easier to pick on than the American despite the fact that on the books they have more right to be here than me. In New York City (where I am from) I was very accustomed to dealing with legal and illegal immigrants and in my; albeit biased; opinion hard working immigrants will only strengthen and economy and country.

    Also when I entered the UK the visa laws were different, they change every few months. There were programs for recent graduates as well as programs promoting highly skilled immigrants in regions like Scotland (where I am based). Primarily because it is believed that although immigration might not benefit places like London as much, places like Scotland can benefit from the extra investment of migrants. These programs have subsequently been closed over the past 2 years. Ok rant over.

  • monty61

    Agreed the Poles are a hard-working bunch. Be interesting, though, to run the numbers for Somalis, or Bangladeshis, or the Romanians already here (those not ‘self-employed’ in the great Big Issue scam, that is).

    But that might upset some ‘communities’, mightn’t it?

  • valBG
  • Petra Thompson

    A recent EHRC report said that 50% of muslim men in Britain were unemployed, and 75% of muslim women. Occasionally the figures for the prison population leak out. Muslims are 5% of the general population, but 13% of the prison population, and 20% of the population of the young offender institutions. And muslims are 0.03% of the armed services.

  • Lisa Robertson

    Wonder if other countries are bitching about the British immigrants in their country and jails as much as the “Brits” are.

  • NeilMc1

    Presumably, Massie is allowed to write this rubish just to wind people up. He, and the Speccie, can’t possibly believe it.
    Sweden actually published the genuine figures. Since 1990 they have had 1m immigrants, 75% of which have never worked and will claim benefits all their lives, as will their children.
    Shame these leftie apolologists don’t actually act on behalf of the people they are supposed to represent, ie. the working classes who have been affected the most by mass immigration and the lowering of wages, overcrowding of their cities, islamisation of their environments.

  • Ian Walker

    My problem with immigration is nothing to do with crime, it’s to do with them ‘meeting a need in the jobs market’ – that need is only there because importing semi-skilled and unskilled workers is cheaper than bothering to train up our local population.
    My formula for an immigration quota is simple – unlimited, unless there’s an unemployed person under 25, in which case zero.

  • Scradge1

    Some fair points made about the Poles. They have a decent work ethic and come from a culture that is compatible with British life. Would someone like to provide figures for the number of people from countries/cultures hostile to the United Kingdom who have never worked and never will?

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    The Poles are generally skilled and hardworking – but they are still claiming from our Welfare State in the form of Child Benefit and Tax Credits, including for children (they claim) to have left behind in Poland.

    Somalian immigrants are least likely to be working and will be living off benefits. They also have a high crime rate. As do other 3rd world immigrants – particularly Muslims, as they tend to be poorly well educated.

    We already have hundreds of thousands of Romanians and Bulgarians living here and the vast majority are claiming welfare. We are shelling out £hundreds of thousands to Romanian Big Issue sellers in the form of Child Benefit, Tax Credits as well as their free access to our public services such as social housing. This story from the DT is a good example of what selling the Big Issue (ie begging) results in by way of benefits
    Some immigration by highly-skilled people who can provide for themselves is undoubtedly good. Mass, uncontrolled and uncontrollable immigration by people who have nothing to offer us and are basically here to beg and claim benefits (or steal) is not.
    How many immigrant Big Issue sellers does this country NEED. The answer is NONE. They are claiming massive sums in welfare which they then transfer out of the country. They add nothing of any value to the UK economy.
    The fact is that poor immigrants from Eastern Europe will never contribute enough to the UK economy to cover their costs. We are being royally ripped off by yet another EU-inspired scam.

  • Sam Gaz

    WHERE IS YOUR EVIDENCE??? This article really ENRAGES me!
    How about you going & doing some real investigative journalism, before writing such a politically correct RUBBISH as this! Are YOU an immigrant too Alex Massie? IF so why don’t you go & print your drivvel back where ever you or your parents came from.
    Too many immigrants now in UK. SACK ALEX MASSIE NOW before he incites a RIOT!
    We need to preserve our BRITISH CULTURE, our JUDEO-CHRISTIAN VALUES and our Non-Halal FOOD chain.

  • Pedro Mauricio

    I live and work in a British colony overseas. I am British, but like anyone else, need a job offer (one that does not take work away from the indigenous population) or sufficient funds to start a business or construct a substantial retirement home. An immigrant here cannot ever be a liability to the colony.

    Why cannot homeland Britain adopt this system?

  • Youbian

    A quick google and Seems like a high figure to me.

  • alabenn

    As usual Massie throws in a red herring, picking out Poles and using these to suggest that other immigrants bring the same benefits, no mention of Pakistani immigrants who have 50% plus unemployment and benefit claimants.
    That most people really do not want any immigration regardless of the benefits flies over his head.
    I would rather be poor than end up in mess of conflicting alien cultures.

    • John Davis

      Ah the Xenophobic racist raises his head.

      • anyfool

        That it has taken you six months to come up with this standard feeble riposte is sad don’t you think.

        Regardless of that, whether I am a Xenophobic racist or not, it does not alter the truth of the comment,
        That you think that other races need you with your stock white guilt phrases to speak for them is the worst kind of racism, as it implies they cannot do it for themselves, god help them if you are the best defender they have,

        • John Davis

          Oh get over yourself if you think I read your post 6 months ago……what a ridiculous assumption, and everything about your mentality is neatly summed up in that reply for all to see.

          • anyfool

            I do not know any,native North Americans, Australian aborigines
            I know several Maori and Southern ocean islanders and generally they despise people like you who claim to speak for them, as any normal man would.

            • John Davis

              Oooo you know several Maori and Southern Ocean Islanders eh? And you say they despise people who speak for them? Er surely that is just what you have done? You didn’t think that through did you Mr Normal.

  • libbollocs

    I work here, pay taxes here, spend money here, I even occasionally organize Oxjam events, art exhibition and so on as a volunteer. I’ve been working now in the UK for 7 years. Now if I loose my job and go to get some unemployment allowances, you going to tell me I shouldn’t get them. So what am I paying my taxes for? Do you get it? Make all imigrants pay 0% tax rate and then tell them to get lost when they go to claim benefits. If someone who never worked in the UK claim benfits I can agree shouldn’t get no benefits. But if you smart enough and check the requirments you have to meet to apply for benefits then you realise that when don’t work in the UK or you worked just for a few days you won’t get nothing and I totally agree with it. I don’t want to see anybody coming here just for benefits (get rid of them) regardless nationality, Poles, Romanians, French or whoever.

    I’m a Pole

    • LB

      Now you know what a lot of Brits feel like. Welcome to the club.

  • Dogsnob

    “Immigration, it sometimes seems, is something to be feared, not valued.”

  • SysReboot

    i’ve worked with many poles, & they work damn hard, have a great sense of humour & are more than willing to help out a fellow englishman if they saw you were in difficulty. I can’t speak for all of them, but the ones I worked with in the network infrastructure industry were better to work with than many of the british people i’ve worked with.

  • Troika21

    Your really fighting an up-hill battle here, Alex.

    I happen to agree with you, why would anyone go to all that trouble to come here just to claim benefits when actual employment would yield far more money, (A whole other kettle of fish, of course).

    I do however think that you are underplaying how local services can be overwhelmed – internal migration won’t cause nearly as much difficulty for services, because they at least free services where they leave.

  • Marcus

    80% Somalis are claiming benefit.
    Mr. Massie, there is widespread hysteria as people feel they have no CONTROl over the situation. No one voted for mass immigration. No one wants more than a handful of Somalis or Icelandic people in the U.K. Yet we can see that our wishes make no difference……to either party. This is what creates hysteria and always will.

    • Daniel Maris

      Yep – instead we have to listen to lectures from Mr Massie (who lives in the Borders where ne’er an immigrant is seen apart from the occasional New Zealand sheep shearer), rather than controlling our own future.

    • Amal Hussein

      Most Somalis are born here and have British citizenship so Im not sure why you are singling them out. You arent going to be able to ban them from benefits or deport them if they are british citizens

      • Marcus

        Most Somalis are born here? Can you qualify that statement please.
        Even if it were true, which it can’t be. What has that got to do with the topic? The question is ‘do a disproportionate number of people of Somalia descent claim benefit in the u.k.’ if the answer is yes, and it is, then why maintain a policy of unfettered immigration from this region when it is clear there is a very questionable benefit to this country.
        I would expect no less analysis from Somalia if the tables were reversed.

        • Grrr8

          Where is the proof for the statement, “maintain a policy of unfettered immigration from this region?”

          • Marcus
            • Grrr8

              That is not “policy”. That is a random and much disputed set of comments from a SPAD.

              • Marcus

                Alan Johnson even admits there was and is poor immigration control. Let alone the confessions of Miliband. Any one visiting London can see with their own eyes without the need of printed memos from Apparatciks. Why are their calls for an amnesty? Why does the boarder agency admit it has no idea of the number of immigrants? If immigration is well controlled none of the above would be true.

                • Grrr8

                  I repeat my earlier point – your comments are not evidence of government ‘policy’. They maybe rather poor evidence for how effectively policy has been executed. But they are NOT evidence of government policy. That said, they are excellent evidence for your biases.

                • Marcus

                  Well grr8, you shouldn’t repeat your previous statement as it was wrong then and is wrong now.
                  You are obviously not a scientist. All of the above is evidence that immigration is poorly controlled.
                  Admission of mistakes on immigration policy by ministers on both sides.
                  Lack of knowledge of numbers of immigrants as evidence of poor control.
                  Visual evidence from living in London.
                  These and many more are clear evidence of weak government policy and organisation of our boarders.
                  If you don’t accept them as evidence then there is no evidence you will accept.
                  Go to Japan and ask expats how easy it is to get a Japanese passport.

                • Grrr8

                  It’s always wrong when you say so Marcus (hangs head in shame… .er not). I wonder if you are a scientist? All scientists look for numerical data based evidence rather than the anecdotal nonsense you list in your post. As well they are able to distinguish between intent/ policy and execution (something which maybe too subtle for you to discern) My guess, you wouldn’t know science if it bit you in the ….

                • Marcus

                  Don’t hang your head in shame. Just don’t be silly.
                  You asked for evidence that the government has a weak policy on immigration. I’ve given you lots of that. I can’t get the official documents ecause there aren’t any. Even if I could it would be worthless: you see the boarders agency is incompetent so they don’t uphold any policy they do have. A similar example would be ‘show evidence that is was policy for mid staffs to murder people through neglect’.
                  There just won’t be any you see, and do you understand why? Yet you do believe that they did? Or maye you don’t.
                  You do get one thing vaguely right however: scientist often do require numbers to draw conclusions. This data can not be provided by the UK boarders agency on immigration because they are incompetent. That they are tolerated to be so is policy.

                • Marcus

                  Don’t hang your head in shame. Just don’t be silly.You asked for evidence that the government has a weak policy on immigration. I’ve given you lots of that. I can’t get the official documents ecause there aren’t any. Even if I could it would be worthless: you see the boarders agency is incompetent so they don’t uphold any policy they do have. A similar example would be ‘show evidence that is was policy for mid staffs to murder people through neglect’.There just won’t be any you see, and do you understand why? Yet you do believe that they did? Or maye you don’t. You do get one thing vaguely right however: scientist often do require numbers to draw conclusions. This data can not be provided by the UK boarders agency on immigration because they are incompetent. That they are tolerated to be so is policy.

  • Macky Dee

    Immigration is not just bad and it’s not just good.
    We keep hearing people such as Alex Massie go on and on…
    We all know that SOME immigrants work and contribute AND SOME DONT!
    BUT ALEX MASSIE! Even SOME of those that DO WORK – They are SELF EMPLOYED – which means they can have their wages topped up AND DONT APPEAR ON THE RECORDS as having benefits – BECAUSE they were clever enough to say (on the day they arrive) that they are self employed and can manage on their own thank you very much. BUT, after a few weeks (and paying a pittance in NI) they suddenly claim that they need just a little bit of help. And there you go, an immigrant, (working yes) AND claiming benefits. All within a few weeks of being here.

    They are a lot cleverer than you and I give them credit!

    • LB

      So how do you distinguish between the economically beneficial, and those that aren’t?

      How do we remove the second group, and prevent more of them arriving?

  • Patricia

    “The British economy is able to take advantage of their skills, their work and their spending without having had to pay for the costs of their education or training. Immigrants are a form of economic stimulus.”
    You forget that we will have to pay for their children’s education plus the cost to the overloaded NHS. Don’t let’s talk about the cost to the shrinking green-belt which some people would dearly love to get their hands on to make gruesome new towns for all these people.
    We have more than enough people in this county to provide the skills and labour needed to make the economy work. If we can’t utilise what we already have, then there is something wrong at the core. Mass immigration is not the answer.

    • Dan Smith

      The cost to the overloaded NHS, is that the Poles and Latvians and Czechs who work hard as cleaners and support workers while their English gets better and they then work hard again in more Clinical roles. In 2000 to 2006 the NHS was flying round the planet trying to poach staff from third world countries, it got so bad that Mandella complained to Blair about the UK stealing all the Nurses from Africa.
      The lowest paid job in the NHS anywhere in England is £1 an hour more than the minimum wage, and pays extra for weekend and night shift and still the NHS employs lots of Filipinos and Eastern Europeans and Africans. The hypocrisy of French Bankers coming Good, Polish Nurses coming bad, is stunning.
      Brit in Road Accident and the answer is well I live in the countryside so we should be allowed to drink Drive to protect rural pubs and we must turn off all speed cameras because us locals know how to drive safely, but if the driver is foreign, well lock him up and then after he gets out deport him immediatly if not sooner becsuse he is foreign. Like Prince Phillip, or Churchill or all those other bloody forigners who came here and fought and died for this country.

      • LB

        It’s not hypocrisy.

        Why should someone else have to pay for a low wage earner to come to the UK?

        Why should anyone have to pay welfare to someone who can’t be bothered to move a few miles to get work, because a Pole has the job?

        e.g. Why are there so many unemployed in Tower Hamlets, when a walkable distance away there are Poles, Czechs Latvians working in Starbucks?

        So there needs to be a change in the test. Do you pay more in taxes than you consume in services? Yes – you can stay. No – you have to go.

        So there’s no hypocrisy in welcoming someone paying quarter of a million in tax. End result, the rest of us are better off.

        There is hypocrisy in saying we should have migrants of benefits, and forcing other people to pay for it. After all, you could always sponsor a migrant and pay their whack of tax. About 11K a year.

      • Grrr8

        Well said

    • Grrr8

      Ah Patricia, you are a great contributor to the study of macroeconomics.

  • Alex Johnson

    Mark: no, this is the lump of labour falacy. Most of them wouldn’t have been. We’d have put up with leaking taps for longer. Fewer people would get a cleaner or someone to iron their shirts. More fruit and vegetables would rot in the soil, or, more likely, not be planted. I’m sure there is a substitution effect too, but for the most part, Polish people and other immigrants have come to do jobs no one else was prepared to do. Maybe, we should compel the unemployed to do these kinds of jobs – but I don’t want someone like that as my cleaner, and I dare say farmers and construction foremen feel much the same. The reality is we’d probably have similar (surprisingly low) levels of unemployment, but just be more grumpy about things we couldn’t get: a deadweight loss.

  • LB

    If as many as 300,000 Frenchies are welcome here, we can cope with a few thousand Romanians coming too.


    And most of the French are high earners or economic refugees from 75% taxation.

    However, the Romanians will be largely low skill refugees from a bad economy. As such they are going to be competing against those on welfare, and that costs the UK big time.

    • Nick Reid

      Seeing as the 75% rate was introduced a few weeks ago and there have been 300,000 French in London for years I suggest the two are unconnected.

      • LB

        Since so many very rich French are leaving, not only for the UK, but for Belgium etc, its going to hit the French government’s revenues hard.

        The problem with the article is simple.

        1. Migration is optional. It’s a choice of government.
        2. Some migrants improve the UK’s economic position
        3. Some migrants don’t.

        So its important to make the right choices and only allow the migrants in that improved the economy. Others we can do without.

        So the question is how to just have the beneficial migrants, and keep them here for as long as possible, subject to meeting the test.

        Now, my test is simple. Are you paying more tax per head, than the government spends per head?

        If not, someone else is paying for them to be here, and that’s morally wrong.

        • CraigStrachan

          I’m trying to imagine things being so bad that I would ever consider moving to Belgium…

          • LB

            I know. Shows how dire. We’ve had admissions from one minister that France is bankrupt. I’m not surprised. The UK is too, so its going to be worse in France. All that state spending.

            So my bet, is that France has serious violence first, then the UK.

        • Baron Miles

          That’s a bad test because money is going into the economy through their spending (VAT goes back into the government, tax on profits likewise), they are also producing goods through their work which also helps the GDP. Your test would not be true or accurate.

          • GTE

            OK. So lets start with a very simple test.

            How can an economic migrant on welfare be making a net contribution?

            • Baron Miles

              By making products that are sold at a much higher price than their wage receives, for example.

  • LB

    So if its a myth, then banning migrants from benefits won’t affect anyone.

    Great idea.

  • Mark Cooper

    It doesn’t really matter if immigrants are salt-of-the-earth types or not. Most of those Poles, for example, will have arrived in the past decade and most will have taken unskilled or less-skilled positions, the vast majority of which would have been filled by natives, had the UK benefits system not been so generous.

    Immigrants such as these Poles – entirely blameless in themselves – do not benefit the country overall as they tend to send a portion of earnings abroad and may also claim benefits (such as Child Benefit) and send those abroad as well. They will actually bring down GDP per head (which is the one that counts).All this time, the British people who should be doing those jobs are on the dole and costing everyone else.
    What Massie sees as “good immigration” is nothing of the sort. It is a symptom of our problems more than a cause.

    • LB

      So lets have a simple test.

      Government spending is 11K per year on average. If you earn over 40K, paying at least 11K in tax, you can stay. If not, you have to go.

      Simple test, organised by the tax form at the end of the year.

      • Grrr8


        If you want to compare consumption of government provided services by an individual resident vs. tax payments by that same resident then yes, that is a fair test.

        Most Poles would pass with flying colours as they don’t consume state pensions, benefits, much NHS/ education and shouldn’t be liable for interest payments on debt run up by previous governments.

        • LB

          I think its a fair test. It’s non racist.

          So lets look at the average. Government spending, 11K per head.

          That’s 40K in income, to generate 11K in taxes.

          I doubt many make that hurdle. It’s per migrant.

          Now you might want to adjust it for age. For example, low tax for a 20 year old. However, when you factor in children, it adds up. 5,500 for education. 2,000 a year for the NHS [It’s insurance]. Then factor in common services.

          That’s the problem. Not many make the hurdle. So the rest of society have to subsidize migration. At the low end they compete against people on welfare, so we end up paying twice.

          There is good migration and bad migration for the UK.

          That’s not to criticize migrants. I can’t fault their get up and go, to move to find work etc. However, for the UK overall, a lot of migration is bad economics.

          • Grrr8

            Education – you can argue this is an investment made by the state in the child. Depends how many children the migrants have. Ironically, if the children remain in Poland its cheaper for Britain as Poland educates them. NHS – it is NOT insurance. You can pay nothing into the system and still be treated. I would doubt the average migrant consumes £2000 a year, probably more like £200 a year. £2000 seems closer to the average for the resident population which includes lots of old sick people. Common services – defence, environmental protection etc. Sure.

            Don’t forget that taxes paid are not just on income but also VAT, council tax etc. In fact, income tax is only 1/3 of the govts total tax take. And migrants pay the other taxes. So here again your conclusion does not agree with your analysis.
            I don’t think your thinking is wrong, but applying your rationale, young hardworking Poles definitely look like good migrants.

            • LB

              Education – you can argue this is an investment made by the state in the child.


              Well, its not working is it.

              Taxes raise 550 bn.

              The serfs, once educated, cost 700 bn to keep feed watered etc. [Ignores the big pension issue still to come]

              Strikes me as a pretty uneconomical deal. Just think, would you be solvent as a slave owner?

              NHS is insurance. On average, it costs 2,000 a year. Some get it for free. Others have to pay more as a consequence. Why shouldn’t we insist that migrants (optional), have to pay in at least 2,000 a year, per migrant?

              2,000 is the average for the population, ignoring paying for any pensions.

              So come up with a number. How much income tax do you expect them to pay to break even? What rule would you put in place?

              Single young hard working Poles. Not claiming any benefits. paying all their taxes.

              2K for education.
              1K for council tax.
              3K for other common services

              Well, its well above min wage.

              So if they start having children, do we double the tax they need to pay?

              It’s simple. Set a threshold. Has to be above the rate at which you get any benefits. That way there is no millage for the BNP. Then at the end of the year, check the tax return. Above, a thank you. Below, please top up or go.

              For the first years, you pay up front, take out an insurance bond, or the company guarantees.

              If you want more migrants, drop the tax take, then more can come.

              It’s completely no racist. Doesn’t compete against low wage earners. Helps them, by creating more of a shortage driving up their wages.

              At the end of the day, all tax is paid by people, not companies. It adds up. So its not just income tax, its NI too. Included in the numbers.

              • Grrr8

                Why do u keep banging on about racism ? Have I accused u of this?

                • LB

                  Because I want to stress that the test I’ve proposed is non-racist.

                  It’s purely an economic test.

                  Does the migrant contribute more to the UK, than it costs the UK to have them here.

                  Absolutely no racism involved, which in my opinion makes it an ideal test.

                  There is a lot of racism when it comes to immigration. However, dig deep and ask the questions, and most of the objections relate to migrants getting something for nothing. e.g. Benefit, council housing etc. ie. Other people paying for them to be here. Very simply, that’s wrong. [There are only a small number of people who have asylum]

                  So lets have a rule that removes this valid criticism, and makes the UK stronger economically.

                • Grrr8

                  You ask me what rule I’d put into place? As already stated, I don’t think there is any valid economic test. God knows, governments have tried. The Tier 1/ Tier 2 system for nonEU migrants is an economic test, plain and simple.
                  I don’t think it is practical to have a rule as the calculations you want to do just can’t be done. So I’d let migrants in while trying as much as possible to restrict their access to benefits. No HB, no social housing, no JSA. But yes to both education and NhS.

                • LB

                  Part I agree with you. I don’t think they have seriously tried. The points based and job quota just involve soviet style central planning. They can’t get anything right, so they won’t get migration.

                  = No HB, no social housing, no JSA. = Fine – in agreement

                  = But yes to both education and NhS =

                  For free? Why can’t the be billed?

                  For A&E, I can see a treat first, bill later as being appropriate. For some other things, such as STDs, I can also see a case for treat now.

                  For other services, why not bill people? You won’t admit a child to a school without knowing your customer. Likewise for a GP. Seems quite reasonable. Bill people. It’s what other countries do.

                • Grrr8

                  One good reason for why health and education should be offered for free is that they are available to all UK nationals irrespective of income/ wealth (unlike benefits). This principle should be extended to migrants who after all will be paying taxes like nationals. I would challenge you to name a country where universal services are not extended to migrants. What would you suggest next: no fire services, police etc. before payment?

                  Its worth considering a medical test such that someone chronically ill doesn’t enter on the pretext of a job (Canada does this). But this is small potatoes.

                  There are also externalities to both these items. Do you want sick and infectious migrants walking around because they cant afford to go to the doctor? What about their feral kids running around because they won’t pay for school?

                • LB

                  Except, they aren’t free. They cost. They cost a lot.

                  It’s back to the basic premise. Migration is optional. We can choose to have migrants, we can choose not.

                  Even EU migration is optional. We can derogate, and the Home office already have plans to do this. We can leave the EU. That would just leave those who gain asylum, and that’s a small number.

                  Do you want sick and infectious migrants walking around because they cant afford to go to the doctor?

                  Hence I raised the infectious illnesses such as STDs as being treat – no questions asked.

                  However, you question misses the point. I don’t want migrants here who can’t afford to go to the doctor. I want those migrants excluded. Why would you want to have migrants coming to the UK who can’t afford to pay for the basics, and so get forced on others. If they can’t come here, they can’t have feral kids, can they? Your argument is based on a flawed premise.

                • Jack_H

                  You are absolutely right,It should be a stipulation of work permits for jobs paying below 40k cannot be considered for work permits.

            • Cristalexi

              I think you mean immigrant. A migrant is a person who goes to another country, usually European/Western country to carry out work on a temporary basis for a few weeks/months, such as during crop harvesting, and then immediately returns home. They don’t bring their family and alrady have the job before they enter the countries. In fact, they’re treated liked a slave and occassionally it’s reported in the media.

          • Raf Zas

            How many british people would make that hurdle?

            • LB

              Not as many as you might think.

              However, British people aren’t optional for the UK, are they?

              Migrants are an optional choice.

              Remember, when it comes to the state, British workers (and migrants) are only generating 550 bn of income for the state. Those workers (migrants included) are currently costing the state 700 bn a year, ignoring the debts, off balance sheet included.

              So why would you want to pull in more workers who increase the debts, consume more than they pay in taxes, when they are an optional choice?

              Select the workers who are beneficial to the UK economy while they were here, and remove or don’t allow in those who aren’t.

              Migrants are a choice. You can pick and choose between them. British nationals, we can’t.

        • Jack_H

          But they will in time,if people are earning less than the mean average they are by definition not pulling their weight and the country is better off economically if they left.

    • Grrr8

      When a Pole gets paid his local wage and benefits in GBP and needs to send the money to Poland he needs to convert it into zloty. Two things may happen here. One is that GBP may depreciate against Zloty. Or more likely someone in Poland will buy those GBPs to import British goods. In effect those wages and benefits will be spent in Britain, just by someone else. This part of your comment is just wrong.

      • Macky Dee

        sending money abroad will end up buying british goods – just because you can imagine it doesnt mean its right

        • Grrr8

          Eh, my point is basic macroeconomics, not a matter of imagination.

      • edlancey

        “Or more likely someone in Poland will buy those GBPs to import British goods.”

        Such as ? Do you have an example of these wonderful British goods that a Pole in need of child benefit might import ?

        Beyond embarrassing.

        • Grrr8

          Beyond embarrassing? Yes your ignorance of basic macro and your inability to read a comment thread certainly is.

          • edlancey

            you’re lucky I’m not marking your ‘macro’ GSE exam paper.

            • Grrr8

              Lol. I hope this new exam board you’ve created requires some knowledge of economics of its markers.

    • Daniel Maris

      That is the real issue.

    • inspireme

      this country was built thanks to the immigrants they brought here centuries ago. All its history relied upon the hard work of others, such as countries which they colonised, slaves or simply the immigrants who came here willingly. so stop complaining, what goes around, comes around!

      • verity

        So the British people did nothing. no building their country. no farming their land, no fighting invading countries. They all had slaves to make Britain great, not according to my family tree, and thousands of other family trees. Obviously you are not British , even if you were born here, even if your parents were born here, you are not British nor do you know what being British is, its a British thing, it goes back centuries

    • BeatPoet67

      Rail against the real reason for immigration – the deregulated global capitalist world we live in. Capital flows to where it may best be leveraged and labour does the same. The govt chooses not to advertise capital flow as it would mean criticising the sanctity of neo-liberal economics. Labour flow is just the flip side of capital flow.