Migrants coming to the UK from the EU are highly valuable to the economy, paying out significantly more in tax to the government than they receive in the form of state welfare.
A study by leading migration economists at University College London has revealed that between 2000 and 2011, EU migrants made a net contribution, after any state benefits, of £20bn.
The research reveals that the UK has been especially successful in attracting the most skilled and best qualified EU citizens to work here.
The study, titled The Fiscal Impact of Immigration on the UK, highlights the growing number of migrants who hold university qualifications: more than 60% of migrants from southern and western Europe hold degrees, and more than 25% from eastern Europe also have degrees.
In the UK, 24% of the workforce are holders of degrees.
Britain attracts even more graduates than its closest EU competitor Germany.
Professor Christian Dustmann, a co-author of the study and director of UCL’s centre for research and analysis of migration, said: “A key concern of the public debate on migration is whether immigrants contribute their fair share to the tax and welfare systems. Our new analysis draws a positive picture of the overall fiscal contribution made by recent immigrant cohorts, particularly of immigrants arriving from the EU,” the Guardian reports.
EU migrants to Britain are not only better educated than the UK population, but also receive a lower proportion of state benefits. Between 2000 and 2011, they were 43% less likely to receive welfare.