A study commissioned by the London Mayor Boris Johnson suggests that an immigration amnesty would lead to a GBP3 billion boost to the economy. The London School of Economics study also concludes that an amnesty would not lead to large scale illegal immigration; Britain's border controls would prevent this happening. The report's findings were welcomed by Johnson.
The main points in the report are as follows:
- Estimates that there are 618,000 illegal migrants in the UK.
- More than two-thirds 442,000 are in London.
- If illegal immigrants were given legal status in the UK then GBP846 million a year would be raised in taxes.
- The public sector costs of granting indefinite leave to remain would be about GBP410 million a year.
- Total costs could rise to GBP1 billion a year in the long term if the immigrants receive welfare benefits and public sector housing.
The proposed amnesty would be for those who had been in the UK for at least five years. It is estimated that two thirds of illegal immigrants would be eligible. The report estimates that regularizing the status of illegal immigrants would result in:
An increase in individual earnings of 25%.
An increase in the rate of employment of 6%.
An additional GBP3 billion a year in national gross domestic product.
Amnesties and regularisation programmes have been common in a number of Countries, including in France, Spain, Italy, Greece and the US. The amnesty idea was first mentioned by Boris Johnson more than a year ago in April 2008. This sparked widespread controversy. The immigration minister at the time Phil Woolas said that it would lead to more people trafficking.