UK government says immigration benefits Britain's economy
12 June 2008
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In response to a recent House of Lords Committee report on the economic impact of migration into the UK, the British government "overwhelmingly agreed" with the Committee's recommendations that economic benefits should influence immigration policy.
Evidence was presented by the government showing that immigration has made a positive contribution to GDP per capita of people born in the UK by creating a more robust labour market. Between 1997 and 2007, the United Kingdom lead the G7 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, USA) in annual GDP growth rate.
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According to the government, the evidence suggests that immigration contributed positively towards GDP growth by allowing employers greater choice in a wider labour market, allowing employers to find a better match between vacancies and available labour.
"Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per head should be the key test against which migration policy is judged," said the UK Border Agency in a press release.
The government also pointed out other benefits that immigration brings to Britain.
"The Committee notes -- and we agree -- that migration can keep down inflationary pressure in the labour market," the government stated in its response to the Committee report. "Migration also brings innovations as UK workers and businesses learn from the exchange of ideas and experiences with immigrant workers...this leads to new ways of working and new products and services."
In addition, the government argued that migrants are needed to fill labour and skills shortages, and that immigration generates significant tax revenue for the government.
Increased immigration in recent years has caused the subject to become controversial, with many Britons wanting to see a cap on migration into the country. However, the government feels that its new five-tier points based system is a much better idea.
"The simple truth is that if we want migration to benefit Britain we have to be very selective," said Immigration Minister Liam Byrne. "That's why our points system will cover twice as many people as a cap."
"On average migrants are more likely to be in work, earn more and are therefore likely to be paying more tax, and are a lighter burden on public finances than those born in the UK," he added. "Our job now is to make sure migration does even more to profit Britain, economically and culturally."