Why Britain’s public finances will suffer if Brexit reduces migration

20271175720_875bb8c005_zIan Preston, Professor of Economics at UCL, notes that Brexit will likely lead to reduced migration. As migrants tend to be of working-age, this could result in a smaller proportion of the population comprising the labour-force, which could have a negative impact on UK tax receipts and public finances more broadly. 

Brexit will have high fiscal costs and a large part of that will be a consequence of what happens to migration numbers. That was the conclusion widely drawn from the Office for Budget Responsibility’s most recent Economic and Fiscal Outlook published in late November – the first since June’s referendum vote. It was illuminated further by supplementary analysis published on December 8.

Continue reading

Migration Watch distort UCL research

planeSam Ashworth-Hayes, journalist at InFacts, highlights how a recent report by Migration Watch misrepresents research findings from UCL academics on the fiscal effects of immigration to the UK by EEA citizens.

Given the focus the Leave campaign is putting on immigration, it is unsurprising that a report from Migration Watch purporting to show that immigrants from the European Economic Area* (EEA) are a drain on the public purse has grabbed the imagination of the eurosceptic press.

In a paper it says “extends” research from University College London, the anti-immigration pressure group says the Treasury spent more in 2014/15 on public services for recent EEA immigrants than they paid in taxes. The original research found that EEA immigrants in the UK paid made a positive contribution of more than £4 billion between 1995 and 2011. Continue reading

Migration, the lightning rod of the EU referendum

utaUta Staiger, Deputy Director of the UCL European Institute, argues that the EU-Turkey deal should have no role in the Brexit debate, yet it brings the crucial question of the European Union and migration into focus at an inopportune time.

Migration has not been out of the news in months. Net migration into Britain has never been higher, despite the prime minister’s promises to reduce numbers “no ifs, no buts”, and it consistently clings to the top spot in British voters’ list of priority concerns. Inextricably linked with EU membership, given the principle of free movement, it has become the touchstone of the Brexit campaign.

Arguably, however, migration today has found its most wretched visual symbol in the millions of people risking their lives crossing the Aegean in order to escape their war-torn countries of origin. And it has found its most troubling political symbol in the EU-Turkey deal, sealed on 18 March to stem precisely this flow. Continue reading

Brexit Divisions II: the mother of all migration debates

Screenshot 2016-03-23 09.23.19Migration will play a central role in the June EU referendum. The UCL European Institute’s Uta Staiger and Claudia Sternberg explore which arguments, facts, and strategies the campaigns will deploy to swing the vote in their favour. This article gives an overview of our second guest editor week on the topic on openDemocracy.

Migration has emerged as perhaps the most prominent – and certainly challenging – issue for both the In and Out campaigns on British EU membership. Continue reading

Some thoughts on the psycho-geography of Europe’s free movement

hoffmannEastern European migration takes place in a very different context than it once did. Eva Hoffman, author and essayist, asks what drives people to leave, and what drives them back again? This piece is part of the UCL European Institute’s commissioning partnership with openDemocracy.

Cross-national movements – as we are all too aware these days – come in different forms and categories, reflected in the various designations we use for those who leave one country for another. There are immigrants and guest workers, refugees and exiles, émigrés and expatriates – terms that point to distinct kinds of social, but also perhaps socio-psychological experience. The different circumstances surrounding individual migration and the wider political or cultural contexts within which it takes place can have enormous practical and psychic repercussions. It matters greatly, for starters, whether you choose to leave or were forced to; it matters whether you’re coming to a new land unprotected and unprovided for, or whether you can expect, or transport, some kind of safety net. For the countries of intake, it matters how many come and what they are able to bring with them, what they need and what they can potentially contribute. Continue reading