Migration Watch Report: Eastern Europeans Claim More Benefits and Earn Less Than Native Britons

Polish shop
Alastair Grant/AP

Migrants from Eastern Europe earn less and claim more in benefits than native Britons – Pakistani and Bangladeshi migrants compared even less favourably. Overall, there are twice as many migrants with “weaker economic characteristics” that those with strong ones, according to a new Migration Watch UK report.

The report from Migration Watch UK shows that those doing better than native British citizens are from India, the original EU member states, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Those from Eastern Europe had higher employment rates than those born in the UK, but had lower wages and higher levels of benefit claims.

Migrants with “weaker economic characteristics”, who outnumber those doing better by two to one, are defined in terms of their employment rates, wages and benefits taken. For example, the report finds “migrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh have lower rates of employment combined with lower wages and higher rates of benefit claim” than those born in the UK.

“Migrants from some regions have particularly strong economic characteristics compared to those born in the UK while others have much weaker economic characteristics,” reads the report briefing.

“Assessments of the current and future impact of immigration to the UK often assume that there is no difference in the economic characteristics of migrants in the UK. The justification given for this is that overall the migrant population tends to be younger and thus more likely to be working. However, such assessments rarely take into account either the type of employment or the rewards of it.”

The study explains that although Eastern European migrants are younger than those from any other group, with a higher rate of full-time male employment, this had not necessarily translated into economic success.

Meanwhile migrants from India, the original EU member states, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand had strong “economic characteristics” with better employment and wage prospects, and lower benefit claims overall.

Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of Migration Watch UK, told The Times:

“This analysis clearly demonstrates that sweeping claims implying that all immigration to the UK is beneficial cannot possibly be right. If immigration policy has been intended to attract only the brightest and the best it has clearly failed, with a very large number of migrants earning less or claiming more than the British-born.”

The BBC report adds Lord Green concluding:

“The clear message of this research is that immigration can be reduced substantially while permitting entry to those migrants that our economy really needs.”