The Truth About Immigration: Are Foreigners Jumping the Queue?

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The Coalition went into overdrive on immigration this week, announcing plans to put a stop to so called benefit tourism and ‘respond to the concerns of citizens’.  But what if the concerns of the citizens are misplaced?  And to what degree have these concerns been placed in the minds of the citizens? Today, we expose some of those inaccuracies and reveal the facts about immigration.

Immigration, Immigration, Immigration

FC3Net migration to the UK fell by a quarter last year from 242,000 to 183,000. This was largely caused in a fall in the number of overseas students choosing to study in the UK (the first in 16 years), and a rise in the number of Britons emigrating (108,000 to 127,000).

However, Immigration is once again and issue for the British people, according to politicians and the mainstream media.

It is no surprise that ‘the British people’ believe immigration to be an issue when so many myths, mistruths and outright lies are promulgated by politicians in pursuit of their votes, or media outlets in pursuit of their custom.

People come to Britain for all sorts of reasons;  to take up a place at University, as a result of landing a job, to seek work and better life chances, or to live with a British spouse or family member.  People may stay here for a few months, a few years or permanently.

Excluding visitor (tourist) and transit visas, most entry clearance visas are issued under the Points Based System (PBS) for work.  The system breaks up labour groups into ranked Tiers of skills from Tier 1 is (highly skilled), down to Tier 5 (temporary/unskilled workers).

The numbers of entry clearance visas issued for the purposes of  work, study (excluding student visitors) and family reasons have all continued to fall, falling 4 per cent, 26 per cent and 15 per cent respectively for the year ending September 2012 (to 145,604, 210,921, and 42,213).

This accounts for the vast majority of the UK’s immigrant population.

There is also another category of immigrant: the asylum seeker.  An asylum seeker is a person who arrives in the UK as a refugee that has fled their country, and cannot return for fear of real persecution.  In such cases the person makes an asylum application.

Asylum applications constitute just 7% of net migration numbers, with only 33% of applicants granted asylum.

Allegations of ‘Benefit Tourism’ – Busting the Myths

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The above picture has appeared across social media, appearing several times on my social news feeds in recent weeks.  It is generally accompanied by some sort of personal statement like ‘I’m not racist but…’, or ‘We’ve got to DO SOMETHING about this’, and so on.

There has been almost non stop chatter about ‘Benefit Tourism’ of late by the Daily Mail, Iain Duncan Smith (Secretary of State for Work and Pensions), The Sun, or Prime Minster David Cameron himself.

Whether it’s their newspaper, their Facebook newsfeed or their political leadership, people cannot move for people telling THEM that immigration is an issue.

It could be argued that this creates, rather than reflects a pervasive attitude which says that not only are our poor people lazy scroungers, but now other nation’s lazy scrounging poor are on their way, begging bowls at the ready.  An almost unavoidable image has been created of a tsunami of immigrants crashing over our social services, fleeing on an outward tide leaving devastation in its wake.

This is just manifestly not the case. Let’s bust some myths:

“We’re the Number 1 Destination for Asylum Seekers!”

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Asylum claims in the UK are actually below the EU average, by several degrees.

“We’re a Soft Touch, No one else Accepts This Many Immigrants!”

Newcomers (immigrants) compose about 9% of the UK population.  This is lower than Australia (24%), Germany (13%), the US (12.8%) and France (10%).

“They’re All Over Here for the Benefits!”

According to the DWPs own figures, despite being 9% of the UK population, immigrants make up just 6.4% of the 5.5 million people claiming working age benefits in the UK.  Therefore the immigrant community is under represented in the field of benefit claims.

“Immigrants are Jumping the Queue for Council Housing!”

As for nicking the council houses, this is just barmy.  A 2009 study, amidst the Labour government’s announcements of a crackdown on immigrant access to social housing, proved just this.

The EHRC study found that of newly arrived migrants between 2003 and 2009, including those from Poland and other eastern European countries, more than 60% were living in privately rented accommodation, 18% were owner-occupiers, and only 11% had been allocated social housing homes.  In terms of the overall proportion of new lettings, out of 170,000 new council or housing association tenants in 2006/07 in England fewer than 5% went to foreign nationals and less than 1% went to east Europeans.

The foreigners are not jumping the queue.  Most of them are not even in the queue.

One reason for the widespread misconception that they are, is that the vast majority (90%) of housing allocated to immigrants in the private rented sector tends to be former council homes which have been sold off in ‘had to let’ and run down areas.  Their local neighbours may simply assume these properties are still social housing and the immigrants have been granted it.

The Reality of Social Security Entitlement for Immigrants

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The major myths busted, we can now look at the reality of social security entitlement for people seeking to relocate to the UK.

The majority of immigrants to the UK seeking to claim benefits must go through a Habitual Residency Test.

People seeking Asylum in the UK are forbidden to work while their application is being assessed.  It is illegal for them to seek work, no matter how long the claim takes to process. Therefore, unless someone has fled their country with enough cash to live without an income for a significant period of time, they will be forced to rely on handouts.

If the applicant is classed as destitute (having no accommodation or financial means of finding any without getting a job) they can apply for accommodation in dispersal zones across the UK.  There is no such accommodation available in London, and it is dispensed by the UK Border Agency (UKBA).

Asylum Seekers are not eligible to claim any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Social Fund
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Invalid Care Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Non-contributory incapacity benefit
  • Working Families’ Tax Credit
  • Disabled Person’s Tax Credit
  • Child Benefit

A single person aged between 16 and 18, gets just £39.80 per week, falling to £36.62 on their 19th birthday.  A couple in a marriage of Civil Partnership recieves just £72.52 shared between them.  A lone parent is eligible for £43.94 each week.

This compares to a basic state pension (without any personal contributions) of £107.45 per week, or up to £111.45 per week Job Seekers Allowance.  UK Nationals would also be able to access the other benefits outlined above, which are not accessible by Asylum seekers.

When one considers how hard it is for people to make do on these sums, as the cost of living rises, it is clear that entitlements for asylum seekers are a) not anywhere near those of UK nationals and b) not significant enough to suggest a life of indulgence and excess by claimants.

Cameron’s Crackdown

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In an effort to appease the Tory right, and quell the rise of proto fascists UKIP, Cameron has gone on the offensive.  He has himself made the claim that his attacks on the ‘something for nothing culture’ must apply to immigrants aswell as citizens.  In short, this is just another attempt at curtailing civil liberties and the welfare state.

From next year EU immigrants will lose their entitlement to Job Seekers Allowance after six months unemployment.  This might be a good or a bad idea, but either way it will have very little impact.  According to the DWPs own figures, just 6.6% of UK immigrants last year were unemployed within 6 months of receiving their National Insurance number.  This compares to 16.6% in British nationals.

He claims to be taking on ‘Health Tourism’ by requiring non EU nationals to demonstrate they have health insurance in order to access health services.  Dr Kailaish Chand of the British Medical Association acknowledges that the unexpected rise in immigration in the mid 2000’s did place the NHS under additional stress, yet also states that:

“The rapid rate of immigration is a problem because it was not planned or expected. The resources were not in place. Immigration has caused problems for the health service but with better planning and control it could easily have been avoided.”  He goes on. “The NHS is supported by hundreds of thousands immigrant doctors and workers. If you removed them tomorrow the NHS would collapse. They bring a great deal of expertise and the country has not had to pay for their training.”

In essence, Cameron is contributing the myths which pit dirt poor UK citizens against dirt poor newcomers whilst achieving a negligible real world result at the very best.  It is a political stunt designed to appeal to the fears and prejudices of people already being exploited by UKIP.  Worse, Labour have joined in just to make sure no one thinks they’ve got an enlightened view on immigration either.

This is yet another example of a politics of envy, fear and suspicion and is entirely consistent with the kind of ‘look over your shoulder’ culture that this Coalition government are creating in the UK.  We may very well need to have a conversation about how we manage our population, what kind of welcome we give newcomers, how we divide resources equitably and justly.  But this is not that conversation.

134 thoughts on “The Truth About Immigration: Are Foreigners Jumping the Queue?

  1. This immigration crisis – are they refugees/are they economic migrants all wanting free housing, education and benefits and bringing scores of family over etc etc/are they ISIS terrorists/are they Africans bringing over Ibola is driving me insane. Just sort it all out please. Check them all out before they embark on these illegal boat journeys like Australia is doing. Stop the boats and arrest the trafficers – turn them back! How the hell do they get the money to pay the trafficers for their journeys? I couldn’t afford it. It’s madness. I am getting old now and am white British with family born here for generations – what the hell for the future of our children and grand children. My son is already saying that the world is following predictions of being over- run/taken over by ISIS and doesn’t want children to bring into this awful world. These immigrants keep having more than their fair share of children again hogging population statistics and hopes for real British people’s future. Of course I know there has to be some migrants and unfortunately poor sincere refugees – but not this ridiculous situation.Just bloody sort it before I have a breakdown!

  2. Why is the EU paying immigrants to come to the UK for interview up to £900 in costs for travelling etc, then when the firm takes them on another £1000 goes to the firm that takes them on.

    Meanwhile the residents get sanctions, closure of 631 jobcentreplus sites, our lives made into a form of torture via universal credit!

    Then we have the man in charge of the fiasco that is universal credit – Iain Duncan Smith, or IDS, which has a very funny but rude nickname – any google search will find it.

    He, IDS that is, claimed for his haircuts and underpants….

    Wish we could after dealing with his dole office (or the lack of them!)!!!

  3. You should have thought about immigration ages ago..whem you had colonies of the British Empire all over the world. What makes me upset is that Britons put everyone in the same bucket. When you come as a student here you do pay extremely expensive fees, you do contribute to the British economy(rent, bills,etc). You do sell your Unis as the best in Europe, although you are British but not Europeans. In UK everything is about the paper of the gift and not the inside…. What a hypocritical society you live in. Maybe you should check about the benefits that lazy British people get, the junkies, and so on….You are 14yr old single mom you get benefits, you have alcohol disease(imagine about the drinking problems in uk..)you get benefits, you have depression you get benefits(these are the benefits for uk people olny n the list goes on)..its just rediculous to blame the immigrants for your own failed system. Uk is just another broken mirror of fake capitalism..but dont FORGET you always have the QUEEN,,,,

    PS Mr Cameron bring back the BRITISH million( millionaries )immigrants from Australia, they could dfnlty save the economy…and pay more taxes. to support ur lifestyle and the Queens as well…

  4. It is not necessarily brits blaming immigrants for jobs and welfare etc but, there are enough problems as it is in this country with the capitalism spoken about below. There are less and less jobs each year agreed. But if there was less net migration surely it would still be easier for natives to find work? (Yes it would) I believe that anyone should be free to come here work and live etc but a lot of immigrants do commit crimes and gang up on natives creating new societies rather than merging with ours. This then separates the citizens of the UK, turning against each other. Everyone should be one community, it should not be determined by what religion or race you are. Agreed some brits are very bad at stereotyping and making it hard for immigrants but immigrants also do bad things and this is the UK, its not their country. So if they were all well behaved (no crime) all worked and contributed (not living off the state) if they merged with our current communities (rather than taking over and making brits feel like a minority) it would create less of a threat and a more accepting environment for everyone to live. The world has to be a multicultural place, not a singular separate community. That would make it easier for everybody. Our country has lost what it was. We have no identity as a country. It is time for immigration to slow down and for the UK to gather itself and set out clear beliefs and boundaries before allowing an ever growing problem to spark out of control from which extremists from both sides will react horrifically. Think about Dubai, so much is banned there due to religion and belief whereas here you are free to do whatever you like, yet we are a christian country? or has that been forgotten? Also the UK is tiny in comparison to many other countries mentioned and there for finds it harder to take in such great numbers due to our densely populated areas around such places as London. Overall I hope this problem is rectified so that the world can move in a positive direction without the blame game and also without any stereotypical view of immigrants and brits (Yes thats right people do blame brits for this too don’t forget). Peace and Love.

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  6. cant blame them for wanting to come here and make more money. the problem is it makes it harder for the people already here. I have not found any permanent work after so many months. I’m going down the agency route now. I was there yesterday in Nottingham. I saw a big group of Romanians what looked as though they travelled in one car. I heard that one of them drives a car and that they have came from Sheffield. now I’m just guessing, they could live in one house, they only need one car to travel to where the work is. it really is unfair and stiff competition. Brits just don’t team up like this, and wouldn’t want to. ask anyone if they want to share a house with 10 people. my point is if there wasn’t so many people coming into the country I’m sure I would have found work by now. I’m not against these people but they are taking jobs away from those who already live here. I’ve got a daughter on the way very soon, so I’m more than desperate to work.

    • My dear you must ask why the people creating the jobs choose to create so little. That is the real question.

      If you need more guidance check out globalization, corporate control, committee of 300, neoliberalism, and last but not least why capitalism has succeeded in turning people into scaremongering serial blamers.

      Capitalism means companies can take jobs from citizens and (contrary to popular belief) make them available in poorer third world nations because capitalism only wants to make as much money as possible. Why would you pay 6 pounds an hour to a seamstress to make clothes for Primark when Thailand makes them for 2p? This, combined with shutting down factories and industries to make MORE money has made you unemployed. Sorry to hear by the way of course. You are sadly blaming the wrong person, but that’s the point of targeting groups of people.

      • That reply was condescending and ignorant. Jay rightly and fairly expressed his experience and his concern. Don’t talk down at him or people who share his concerns.

        This is nothing to do with capitalism and everything to do with EU membership, open borders, and a hostile elite ruling class who positively enjoy (as a kind of historic revenge) making people like Jay struggle.

        Jay – I’ve live overseas for more than a decade and agree with exactly what you are saying – we don’t act as ethnic groups for ethnic interests like the others do so we often get screwed over. Time for us all to rethink.

        England is with you!

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    • I think James Calbraith must be living on another planet, you need to come to Leicester mate you won’t know what country your in, full of poles,Bulgarians,Romanians, and the Indian population has taken over here, I feel trapped but can’t escape to another country, I have to support a family of four on £150 a week as that’s my weekly salary, and don’t get any benefits, rent or council tax benefits, I’ve never been so financially hard up, the government has a website for immigrants and asylum seekers stating there entitlements when they get here such as housing they can have, how much money they can get and other benefits, as I understood the governments policy was to try and deter immigration, there is only one place to put the blame that’s on the British government.

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  12. As far as I’m aware a significant proportion of the immigrants to the UK still come from America, Australia and New Zealand. I wonder why there isn’t so much of a fuss kicked up about them…..

  13. I must say, this is a breath of fresh air for an international student like myself. Indeed, the campaign against foreigners is very brutal lately, spreading a lot of lies. The latest I’ve seen was in The Sun about migrants bringing in super bug to the UK ( http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/4861619/Time-Bomb-immigrants-to-bring-drug-resistant-TB-superbug-to-UK.html#ixzz2Om3xdcpn here is the article)

    It sickens me to watch TV and hear about romanians, and gipsies, and bulgarians, about what horrible people they are, programs about how much they steal, and how forgiving the Brits are towards them. You have just as many thieves as we have.

    When it comes to housing accommodation, first thing you need to realize is that you Brits have a very complicated and complex system, which is made in such a way to deter you from using it (no Government likes to give money and houses for free, do they?). To assume that a foreigner comes here with a knowledge you’ve had for your whole life, is RIDICULOUS. When I came here, I could barely count the money properly, and I struggled to know the value of the pound (only God knows how £20 seemed like no money back then), let alone get into a complicated benefit system, with rules and criteria, with one million forms to be filled, send off to different obscure places around the country. Lets not forget when it comes to the internet, not a lot of information is available.

    HOW WOULD YOU KNOW HOW TO DO ALL THAT IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY?

    Now finishing up my third year of University and looking back at the day I arrived in this country, I have been discriminated throughout my stay. To say from start, I NEVER even tried getting benefits (they are NOT available for romanian nationals under any circumstance anyway). Don’t think as migrants coming in with less then a pound to their name and trying to get rich. I came to England with over £3000 to keep me comfy till I can get a job. Money was for food, accommodation, going out and other bits and bobs. Most romanians that I do know, came here with that sort of money in their pocket simply because they know it’s always good to come here with more rather then less. We don’t come here expecting a bed of roses, to please everyone get that out your head. We are people just like you, the difference is, we are raised to dream to do more, and we don’t limit ourselves to just our country (truth be told it could be run a lot better). It opens horizons, minds, relationships, it can expand your whole perception.

    I speak very good english, in fact it takes people a while to guess where my accent is from. Most foreigners I know speak excellent english, sometimes even better then most british people(Ouch! Hurts doesn’t it?). We learn english from a really young age, and not just that but also italian, french, german, spanish etc.

    I really like Britain, even with the discrimination, with all the problems, it’s a good country to be in (if it would be sunnier though I think nobody would mind). And it pains me for such an evolved country to see such little thought process. None of us know what where getting ourselves into when moving country. We only come here with good intentions, or at least most of us. We just want to live in a civilized society, but unfortunately, the mentality sometimes can be a lot more primitive then we expected.

    • So so true! I’m foreigner myself and am blamed to claim benefits all the time! The worst is, that every single one of those who blames me ARE CLAIMING! So why to blame? I like the country, people are lovely, but that discrimination is like a shadow following me everywhere :( I pay taxes when I work (and don’t claim back even thou I shouldn’t pay them as I’m student), I work at such places where you can’t see a Brit because the job is just too hard and been rejected from so many work places BECAUSE I’m foreigner. Why can’t people just admit they wrong for once and carry on doing whatever they do in their lives? Even John Lennon did, why can’t you?

    • Another idiot throwing around the word “racism” without really understanding the meaning of it. “xenophobic” is the word you’re actally looking for.

    • Haonow, you don’t realise that it is YOU and the way YOU think that is bigotted. Culture is meaningful to those who have it, you obviously have none. Let me explain, let’s take an Amazonian tribe and create a ‘melting pot’ of really great people from all over the world to live there together. Would that be fine? No. It is NOT different.

    • Foreign student: ‘ I work at such places where you can’t see a Brit because the job is just too hard’. not a racist statement?. Seems you and Foreign student, whilst replying to a myth busting thread are hung into repeating the mantra of Brits being racist and lazy.

  14. lol really none of you have a clue,but you will in january 2014 when crime hits the uk like you cant even imagine, you aint seen nothing yet!! half the people in romania/bulgaria are not from those 2 countries, they go there for fake passports etc to get to the uk,i know i lived there, but you are going to get the biggest shock of your lives, maybe most of you deserve it to actualy wake you up!! argue all you like, but come next year you will see im right :-p by then its to late!

  15. Who are you trying to kid open your eyes and see what’s really happening not what you want people you sound like you believe your own rubbish I feel sorry for you

    • Rather than believing someone else’s (not to mention unreferenced and unverified) rubbish? You’re being told to fear by people who will benefit from the support that fear brings. I feel sorry for you. You seem to be entirely unable to consider things independently.

    • I guess this article makes an important point – numbers don’t mean much without an uncertainty. I am surprised the net migration figures is known to worse than 10% (+-35000)! I would have though it must be possible to measure this quite accurately?

  16. Personally don’t bang on about immigrants but, it appears u have taken some time to research our new immigration laws & gained enough knowledge to put across the FACTS about what immigrants can & cannot claim regards benefits… But, somewhere along the line i’m actually missing your point…….Perhaps u can elaborate a little more in lay-mans terms for me please

  17. Great stuff! This is such an important issue, so much misinformation and unreliable “anecdotal” evidence.

    I think you missed the most illuminating stat from that 2009 EHRC report – only 1.8% of those claiming social housing had moved to Britain in the last 5 years. Explodes the myth of “off the boat, into a house”.

    Keep up the good work. Have shared.

  18. An interesting argument although you have presented the figures in such a way that it favours the pro-immigration camp. The same reports can easily be re-quoted to argue the opposite.

  19. Nice article, though you missed out one obvious rebuttal of “ILLEGAL immigrants CAN’T CLAIM A PENNY”!

    I think the demonising of immigration, which our country is built upon, especially of STUDENTS, who are basically free money for us, is rather horrifying. Facebook’s done a fair bit to alert me to how many of my own friends buy into this tripe, but sadly facts do little to change their minds when it’s that against the media and politicians. You’d think the demonising of the DISABLED would have been going too far but apparently not. So many prejudices lying just beneath the surface…

    I hope the backlash in favour of the human rights happens soon. We’re destroying things we need to benefit politicians we don’t.

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  21. An immigrant has been co-opted onto our town council, to represent his countrymen as there are so many, and no one can find work in the service industry, as they have all gone to immigrants. Go to Bournmouth and see estates almost exclusively immigrants. There are fights between locals and immigrants almost every night ! I think your report is very poor and inacurate.

    • Your point seems to be that there are immigrants living in the UK. Son, there are immigrants living in every country in the world. Lots of them. everywhere. It’s called globalisation and the globalised workforce. You have nothing to fear from them.

      The reason there are no jobs is that the economy of this country has been hijacked by the wealthy elite and they are destroying your livelihood to keep more money for themselves. Why are you blaming immigrants?

      The reason taht there are fights between immigrants and locals is that people are afraid and scared of immigrants due to anti-immigrant hysteria in the press. Fear of migration does more harm than migration itself. So why are you blaming immigrants? Blame the newspapers who publish lies about immigrants.

      The point of this article is to show that the anti-immigration rhetoric of certain British politicians is based on myths and lies, and that people are being encouraged to hate immigrants for no reason. The statistics shown in the article demonstrate this clearly, although not as clearly as your ill-informed rant does.

      You have proved the point of the article perfectly. Well done.

    • Interesting insight but statistically it’s very unlikely that any estates are “almost exclusively immigrants” – anecdotal evidence like this is very rarely backed up by numbers, it often “just seems that way”.

      I suggest you do a freedom of information request, and if you are correct come back and let us know. If it’s true you’ll have a hundred lefties going “well bugger me” and re-thinking and looking for new evidence. Otherwise this will probably be disregarded.

    • I live in Bournemouth. Exactly which estates are you talking about, because I can’t think of any that are even close to being exclusively occupied by immigrants? Also you spelled Bournemouth wrong. It has an ‘e’.

    • Let me put this to you, if someone for whom English is a second language gets a job ahead of you, whose fault is it? Or are you suggesting that employers need to drop their standards so that “anglo saxon” applicants have a chance?

    • I live in Bournemouth, there is a surprisingly low population of immigrants here compared to many areas of the country, we have a fair amount of foreign students. Where exactly are these whole estates full of fighting immigrants please?

  22. Excellent article! The scaremongering surrounding immigration in the UK has become really scary for those of us directly involved. I’m about to move back to the UK with my non-EU husband (a highly skilled Migrant…like many mixed families living abroad we are no longer able to apply for a Family visa due to the changes implemented last year). My husband will be paying tax in the higher bracket, national insurance and is doing a specialist job. Even so, it scares me that NHS cover may soon be taken away from immigrants (ironic, considering the number of immigrant NHS drs and nurses we have) and that despite having children, we will forever be living under the threat of further crackdowns and having to leave the UK…

      • now let us say, in a given political state at a given time.. ye got m woot would ye call it… ‘income disparity’ socio ecnomic classes… woot ever ye know whoot i mean

        now say person a wants to move to place b… are there barriar… and woot hinder person …

        now say person a is local city citizen, by moving will be naturally not local city citzen.. is there more or less barrriar.. would national state change help or hiinder such…

        for exaple.. in yer engloland there is some survey as far as i know.. and such compare persons wishing to move from north to south… so woot push and pull would help or hinder such…

        this is real… by going on abut migration as such, you totally are silly

        how finance returns to city london, how north can not ever under the system which was befroe 2008.. the north can never , never do other then to .. woot shall we call it ‘economically inbalance

  23. What a joke.

    Based on ‘net migration’.

    Just because the figures are supposedly below the EU average – does that mean the figures are ACTUALLY low?

    also 6.4% of 5.5 million is 35200 – hardly an insignificant number?

    Take a walk around any city center to see the truth and make your own mind up.

    • “also 6.4% of 5.5 million is 35200 – hardly an insignificant number?”

      Erm, no it’s not. It’s 352,000.

      The point is, immigrants make up 9% of the population but only 6.4% of benefit claimants, which means a smaller proportion of immigrants claim benefits when compared with British nationals. So take any random foreigner in the UK and s/he is statistically less likely to be on benefits than a UK citizen – a fact ignored by the press and our own government.

      • Apologies – I meant 352,000. but my typing error has rather taken away the validity of my comment :)

        Although I would argue that many of the British Nationals that claim benefits have actually paid into the system they are claiming from at some point.

        Also this report does not say how the % of immigrant benefits has risen or fallen – will it stay at 6.4%?

        • “Although I would argue that many of the British Nationals that claim benefits have actually paid into the system they are claiming from at some point.” – This is why society is so messed up. People believe they have a right to claim benefits because they paid taxes. As a sole trader I pay more taxes than most, does that give me a right to get better privileges? Nope.

          I think people need to step out of their caves and realise we live in the 21st Century. Or is everyone saying its ok for these people to come here on holiday, pay for their education here and get educated, contribute to society by inventing and creating jobs but when a small percentage start claiming benefits ohh lets kick them all out. Go out make friends with these people and realise you reality is warped.

          • The benefits system is there for people to fall back on as a last resort, so yes – if someone has paid taxes I would say they have more right to claim them over someone who has not worked here and not paid taxes.. pretty simple.

            • by the way as a sole trader you do not pay more taxes than most.. unless you are operating above the VAT threshold in which case you should be a limited company. Perhaps take a look at your own warped reality 😉

              • Errr – why does trading above the VAT threshold mean you should be a limited company and not a sole trader ?? As long as his/her liability is controlled by other means (good insurance, maybe cash trading – no trading liabilities) then the costs of incorporation may outweigh the benefits it brings about. Though being able to become an employee and gain access to the state benefits denied the self-employed may make it worthwhile.

        • It’s remained steady so far, but may change in the future – although there’s absolutely no reason to believe it will. Seems a bit foolish to criticise something which may or may not occur but probably won’t.

          Because the percentage of claimants among immigrants is lower than that among UK nationals, adding immigrants to our society actually improves the ratio of employed to unemployed. Sure, some claim benefits and that is costing us 2.1bn a year, but overall, foreign nationals living in the UK represent a pretty sizeable net gain and this fact is overlooked in the mainstream media.

          • I can see the headlines: ‘Immigrants coming over here and… well… propping up our flagging economy…”

            No wonder the tabloid press are scared of immigrants. It suddenly ruins the nasty vitriolic angle they’ve hammered out. They might even have to learn to write proper news.

      • You are saying that it is perfectly fair to spend £4.7 billion per year on benefits for immigrants because at least it is not the £6.8 billion it would have been if 9% of benefits spending went to immigrants. Interesting case…

        You are sidestepping the question of whether it is right or not that 6.4% of spending should go to immigrants. A lot of people care about that principle, for right or wrong

        • Where are you getting those figures from? Please do not put figures in comments here without a source. General rule we follow. The total annual Jobseekers Allowance bill every year is only £4.9bn each year.
          It seems you might well think that if the figure was £1 you have a principled opposition to someone who wasn’t born in this country being eligible for any kind of state benefit. If they work here? How long would it take for them to have ‘earned’ their way in your view? 1 year. two years, five years, never? I’ve got bigger fish to fry than picking on poor people, while very powerful people are walking away with trillions in tax payer money.

  24. Pingback: A Blog Repost: Immigration Into Britain | Don't Bend, Ascend

  25. A really strong article. Well done for staying calm when it’s all too easy to respond to ‘sensational’ reporting with sensationalist writing.
    I was lucky enough to do some work for a charity called Alone in London a couple of years ago – offering housing advice to young homeless people. A polish lad came in, he had come to Britain thinking he’d be able to get a Job and settle here, thinking it would be better than back home. But he hadn’t been able to find work and had no-where to sleep because his so-called friends were not able to offer him the couch anymore. After making a few calls, there was no-where that would take him because he wasn’t eligible. I had the horrendous job of telling him there was no-where for him to sleep. There was snow on the ground outside. Believe me, immigrants do not get priority housing.

    I also just want to respond to a comment earlier in this thread about the Stamford Hill area of London. I live in Stamford Hill, which has the largest population of Hasidic Jews in Europe. I am very proud that our country is so diverse that they were able to find refuge in our country during the Nazi occupation of Germany, which is the time the majority came over. I also love the fact that I can walk down the street and pick up a delicious salt-beef bagel and that we had an extra rubbish collection this week to accommodate for Passover when we were also having a clear out.
    Thanks immigration. It really is not anywhere near the ‘evil’ that the Tory’s and the Daily Mail would have us believe. (Unless you think salt-beef is evil of course.)

    • Thanks for that thoughtful, lovely comment Hannah. I couldn’t agree more. I love that we live in a place where so many different cultures, cuisines and languages are expressed. Wonderful to see you on the blog :)

  26. But surely this article misses out the most important fact of all which is that most UK immigrants (according to the stats) ARENT IMMIGRANTS AT ALL. Most of them (as is discussed briefly in the article but not enough) are STUDENTS. They are NOT planning to stay here long term, are NOT using benefits, and are not, to repeat, immigrants at all.

    • This is a good point – I know University’s are in big trouble because foreign students have been put off by the new immigration policy, and these students pay a lot of money for courses. Yet all they do is come here and spend money in our businesses, thus sustaining jobs for people – which not only is not a problem, but is not the cause of the (real or perceived) problems most ant-immigration people have an issue with – i.e. I doubt it would solve any of the issues that makes people want lower immigration, whilst actually causing harm to the country and to the foreign students by denying the opportunity for students to come here and learn at our Universities!

  27. A very sensible and well researched piece. I do, however, have to take issue with one careless, throw away comment you make. UKIP are not really ‘proto fascists’. They may be very right wing indeed, but I felt like your unthinking eliding of fascism and mere conservatism was a mistake.

  28. “A single person aged between 16 and 18, gets just £39.80 per week, falling to £39.80 on their 19th birthday”. Not much of a drop is it? If you are going to present figures as fact perhaps you could get them correct?

  29. “Asylum claims in the UK are actually well below the EU average, by several degrees as the graph above demonstrates.”

    Unfortunately, that’s not what it demonstrates, at least not directly. The graph shows the total figures, saying nothing about any EU average. Please read the link you provided more carefully: http://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/migration-uk-asylum.

    This is a great article but mistakes like that significantly undermine it’s strength as a data-driven analysis.

  30. If we’re talking about misrepresentation, then where was that photo taken because it looks more like the United States than Britain.

    • I think that’s more to do with the fact that a lot of these “viral” email/facebook circulations including the one about the asylum seekers being given a mansion actually originate in the US and are simply amended before being circulated here. Can’t blame this article for that!

  31. Thanks good article. I for one am weary of the racist bilge in circulation. Let us not forget the almost 2 million British who now live or have retired in other EU countries and doubtless use the local health services abroad. My own experience of fellow EU citizens etc. is that they come here, many do jobs locals can’t or won’t, work long hours and pay tax. Our Health Service would collapse without them. They are net contributes.

    There is a shortage of social housing because governments sold it off and did not build. So what do they do, blame immigrants! Easy target, but the wrong target.

  32. I am an English language teacher, and committee member of Eastbourne Cultural and Communities Network. In my work I teach English to people (mostly from Eastern Europe) that come to this country to settle here and work. I angers me so much when I read posts on FB and articles in the popular press about immigrants here on benefits. I have to say that I have taught many of these people over the years in my classes and not one of them has been living here off benefits. The truth is that most of them work long hours in low paid jobs, and unsocial hours. They pay taxes, and contribute to the economy in the services they supply such as cleaning our offices, cinemas, and working in our care homes, looking after our elderly relatives. Whenever I have asked these students the reason why they have come to the UK to live and work, the answer has never been because of our benefit system, but because they can’t find work in their own country and there are jobs here. I am pleased that you have written this blog, because it needs to be said because it seems that now even the government is turning out this vitriol against immigrants, and immigration. Is this just another group of people, along with the poor, disabled and those on benefits that the government can blame for their own mistakes?
    Michael

    • You say the immigrants pay taxes, but if they are on low wages they will pay very little. They are also taking jobs that many desperate Brits would love to do, the fact is the Brits are being discriminated when it comes to hiring these days.

      Never mind these statistics, the country is broke and shouldn’t be spending a single penny on asylum seekers, I don’t want my taxes to fund their stay in this country, simple as that.

      So what if the percentage of those on benefits is lower amongst the immigrant population, they should not be getting anything for at least five years, no job you go back home, isn’t the whole point of them being here is that they benefit the economy, that wont happen if they take benefits

      • They are doing jobs that a lot of Brits don’t want to do like working in care homes, cleaning offices and so on. Your taxes aren’t funding their stay in this country and they are giving a valuable service to the people of this country which you will probably come to realise the next time you get your BMW washed in the car park at Tesco or Sainsbury’s!

        • Ukelt just seen your post. They are not doing jobs that British people will not do, that is not correct, they are doing jobs that single parents like me do and have done for years. This makes me really annoyed when people say that they are doing jobs British wont do. There is now lots of single parent people out of work because all the the jobs have gone to the foreigners. I used to work in hotels but now you cant get a job in an hotel, its all foreigners. Yes i clean for a living and proud to do so and lots of people like me too, where do you get the British people wont do these jobs. I have now been denied the right to give a service to the people. And who supports the accommodation and food for the all the people who come here if not the tax payer, but if we are put out of work we are scroungers.

          • if they are working they support their own accommodation and food…silly person! if you lose out on a job to a forgeigner, whose first languageand references is not English then perhaps the issue lies with your skills and interview technique. sort it out and stop blaming others for your failings.

        • I think all you immigrant huggers should move to S.E London. Im was a 30 year mixed race women who had never been the victim of any discrimination ever until I moved here. West Norwood should be named West Africa! Their women are so jealous and predjudice against light skinned people is disgusting. My sons class is 70percent black African, he gets called devil worshiper cos hes an atheist. It saddens me that a bright, popular and happy eleven year old harbours so much distain for them. On my estate you can count the Brits on one hand and that is not unusual for round here.

  33. A really great persuasive article, calm, intelligent and well researched. I personally think the wider issue is a failure of all governments to tackle an increase in poverty for millions in this country working full time on low wages. Affordability of rents aross much of England have been at crisis levels for years creating genuine misery for those at the bottom of the heap. As incomes of the working poor continue to fall in alignment with people on benefits an injustice is perceived. Yet immigrants are unfairly blamed for this phenomenon. A significant increase in the population over the last twenty years has not been funded with an adequate increase in housing. This is a political failure of will as much as circumstance. Billions can be found for war at the drop of a hat…

  34. I am not going to comment on the right or wrong of the information we are given regarding immigration all I know is what I can see or know first hand.
    I was bought up in Hackney so was my husband, and our parents, Hoxton and Shoreditch played a large part in our history also Stamford hill and Stoke Newington we have a Jewish heritage. We moved away from London a long time ago as we could not find a ecent place to live. Rooms in multi-occupied houses, outside lavatories shared with other families, no bathrooms, damp cold houses in need of TLC. When we married in the early 60’s social housing was not on the agenda we never had a chance we were forever being told by the Jobs Worths that ” There’s a lot of people worst off than you”. Now 50 years on Hackney and surrounding areas have 52% 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants, indigenous population is down to 48% and there are still families whose members 3 or 4 generations have lived and been born here, paid taxes and helped this country to get rich who cannot find a place to live, these are not necessarily white, we have had different races in this country for hundreds of years . Friends of ours who still live in Hoxton have 3 grown up children who still live at home, they cannot get social housing although they are over crowded. They cannot afford private housing as the rents in the area are astronomical, and as for a mortgage thats a laugh on minimum wage as the jobs are very few on the ground. My family got out of this situation we made sure they got a good education all three of my sons own their own homes and have been lucky in employment. But the schools in our area are becoming overcrowded with children who do not speak English so education is under a strain and now they are thinking of selling up and moving further a field. This does not only affect white indigenous I have a friend whose mother came from africa she was born here, her children who are now grown up were born here and they cannot get social housing because of the new comers. Everybody who lives in this country are not rich like the conservatives think they are. Osbourn and Cameron have not got a clue about the real people who live in this country, they are just rich pillocks. We should take a leaf out of Cyprus’s book and commandeer their savings/wealth/shares portfolio and pay off some of the debt we have.

  35. I agree with what you say i think the is a lot of scaremongering happens when it comes to immigrants. Tho i do think some things need to change no one should be able to get a place that cost £8000 per month in rent paid for by tax payers whether they r born here or not. Also you forgot the expense of interpreters needed in day to day life things when they wont learn English. I definitely dont think the problem is as bad as made out to be but there is a few things need to be run better. Just one more thing im not sure where you got those benefits figures from, but all in all every good article :)

    • Hi Kirsty,

      Thanks for your comment and for reading the article. In terms of the £8k rent paid for by the tax payer…if there is more than one instance of this in the UK I would be stunned. I’ve not heard of such a case. Are you referring to a specific incident? Do please post links to source if so.

      The figures on benefits come directly (they are referenced) from the Department of Work and Pensions. The truth is, we do not have an issue of immigrants exploiting the benefits system. There is no verifiable data to prove we do. What we have is a government that wants us all looking at the immigrants who have less than we do, while they scoop out taxpayer money and use it to prop up failed banks and big energy. It’s a scam and we absolutely must stop allowing ourselves to be so hopelessly manipulated by our own fears and prejudices.

      I do hope you keep reading and do share the piece with your social networks and help spread the word!

      • oh no im not saying there is more than one case, as i said i do think there is a lot of scaremongering but i think things should be in place to make sure that things like that dont happen for people born here or have immigrated here. Im not disagreeing in anyway with what your saying just raising the point that although things arent as bad as people make out things could still be improved within the system is all

        • To be fair, if 1.3 million ‘council houses’ had not been sold off, or, as was promised at the time, 1.3 million NEW council houses would be built with the money instead of the 30,000 that were, then there would be enough social housing available. Instead, as there now isn’t, due to the ‘right-to-buy’ policy, there is little alternative but to put people in private, rented accomodation and subsidise private landlords with our tax money instead. A policy that the Tory government put in place all those years ago, is now coming home to roost, and as usual, it’s honest taxpayers money that has to pay for it.

  36. I congratulate you on your well researched, considered and thorough piece, on an issue that is being used in a very dangerous and manipulative political way by politicians and media. I am afraid there are far too many intolerant and ill informed people who never use the facts and offer anecdotal bigoted language based on their attitudes. These people refuse to look at the facts and figures because those figures do not support their intolerant and fear-fuelled beliefs. Racism and intolerance is sadly nothing new, it is sad that politicians aided by some of the press, once again wheel it out to serve a purpose. When will some of the public who still don’t recognise it begin to learn that the powerful always need scapegoats and targets?

  37. 24,000 Refugees in the U.K. according to the Red Cross. Refugees seeking Asylum. Otherwise, they would be described as illegal immigrants. So blaming refugees for the pensioners not getting more benefits is ludicrous.

    £10 million yearly cost for NHS tourism. £60 Billion odious debt due to New Labour PFI.
    Of course, the ConDems prefer to go after the pennies, instead of going after their mates who profit from the odious debt.

  38. This is a well-researched and well-written article. I wish it had wider exposure. However, I’ll also maintain that it’s a waste of time because the way people in this country seem to work with regards to immigration is to make up their mind first and then distort facts to match. Well written though.

    • Thank you. Really glad you enjoyed it. I think you are right in that alot of people’s visceral reaction to the immigration issue has nothing to do with reality, but their own prejudices. What we need to do is make it clear for people, that this is the case. Sadly, we have a bunch of politicians and media pundits actively feeding these prejudices for their own profit and that really is opening the door for all sorts of horrible social outcomes.

  39. lol what a load of bull. the area i live in is flooded with immigrants, they don’t speak english, they all claim benefits and, yes, they do get priority housing

    • This is *so* typical a response. You don’t like what you read so you make a flippant comment with no backing evidence and because you say it it’s true. Doesn’t work that way mate, provide evidence or STFU.

      • I would think the evidence is this person lives in the area described, rather than just assume they are lying?

        Different peoples experiences might not be the same – although immigration might not be large as a fraction of the total population, its entirely possible immigrants tend to not disperse in an isotropic manner, and instead end up concentrated in certain areas. The experience of someone in such an area would be that immigration is out of control, whilst my experience in a middle class area is that it is not causing problems. And then when no-one listens to these people we all complain they vote for far right wing parties, because they have worked out they can exploit the situation to gain votes.

        • This country will resemble america soon with no go areas as people who come to this country are creating their own little areas to live i saw on the internet recently that one islamic community in london had vigilantes walking round telling people that they were not allowed in their area and also putting posters up which the council had to remove this has also happened in sweden and has caused riots, wherever you go in the uk there are little communities that any person feels intimidated when they go there share your culture and the governments should do more to integrate people.

          • The Truth About Immigration: Are Foreigners Jumping the Queue?

            chomsky: headlines are for one kind of editor

            you silly silly person… have ye any idea……….. look i am born in dublin… ye’s it is sometime called ‘south ireland’ like i not born east LA and if so, it likely after 1923 earthquake for more then one reason.. i am alive .. hello

            migration.. woot is foreign.. ye silly silly person

            p.s. maybe now i can relax and try to read the article.. and comments

          • knew this Scot, he lost his head in Falklands, i ask him , after he said he went up gangplank with gun… of course i ask him if gun loaded.. then i ask where… seee

            he could not tell me if it liverpool or what.. he was 24yrs old this was like 20yrs later.. he could not tell me difference in his mind tween ‘argi bargie’ and a hole in the head

        • political entity island UK… has persons dieing and persons born and persons arriving and persons leaving… now persons arriving and leaving in a given time are alive.

          it is silly to think persons are or are no citizens depending on .. ahhh how can a person a living person be either uk citizen or not.. is this person alive.. then it is a person… is this person not born or dead… this is not a citizen anyplace..

          the premise is wrong.. sorry.. i can not read this bolix… sorry i am angry now…

          Net migration to the UK fell by a quarter last year from 242,000 to 183,000. This was largely caused in a fall in the number of overseas students choosing to study in the UK (the first in 16 years), and a rise in the number of Britons emigrating (108,000 to 127,000).

          • look, wonced went into post office on trafalgar sq. all i had in me pocket was a few english pounds. a photo of meselv and came out with document which got me in and out of british and mainland customs for one year..

            if i took the dover ferry all day.. i’d really mess up those stats

      • never been in croatia.. well maybe i have.. took a train out of Munich it stop in beograd.. maybe it went Tito through.. steem engine painted with british green colour on boiler.. welll in me minds eye it is like that..

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