A quarter of the 600,000 immigrants from eastern Europe are paying around £1 a week in taxation, according to a new study. Research from pressure group Migration Watch reveals that immigrants earning minimum wage receive almost as much in benefits as they pay in taxation and national insurance, with some who don’t work full time giving nothing to the Exchequer in return for government handouts.
The report also says that if part-time workers on the minimum wage have a dependent partner, they receive a net benefit of £88 a week, which rises to £295 a week if they also have two children.
While the report acknowledges that the tax situation of each individual varies according to their earnings, given that half of migrants from eastern Europe earn no more than £300 a week, it is likely that a significant number are not making any significant net contribution to the Treasury.
The analysis also says that there can be major costs later in life, with pensions and healthcare, to which the lowest-paid immigrants will make no significant contribution.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch, said in a statement: “This analysis shows quite simply that the taxpayer is subsidising their wages; no wonder then that employers are in favour of them and that so many people find the UK such an attractive destination.
“We constantly hear that immigrants work hard and pay their taxes. There is no doubt that many of these people do work hard but it is a fact that those on the minimum wage pay virtually no direct taxes, and if in a couple, they can receive significant sums in tax credits and other benefits.”
He added: “To have granted the right to full and immediate access to our welfare state to workers from the poorer countries of the EU which have a total population of 100 million people was another of the “spectacular mistakes” made by the last Government.”