European migrants have made a more positive fiscal contribution than people born in UK, finds review

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 31 October 2016 in News

Review finds that migrants are on average younger than the general Scottish population and economically active

Money - credit: PA

European migrants to Scotland have made a more positive fiscal contribution than non-EU migrants and people born in the UK, according to a new study.

The review, ‘The impacts of migrants and migration into Scotland’, found that migrants are, on average, younger than the general Scottish population and economically active and healthy, with many sectors of the Scottish economy are reliant on migrant labour – particularly the NHS.

The report found European migrants make a more positive contribution to the public purse, in terms of the taxes they pay and the costs of public benefits and services they receive, than migrants from outside Europe and people born in the UK.


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Europeans are also less likely to claim out-of-work benefits than people born in the UK.

Minister for International Development and Europe Alasdair Allan said: “These statistics and the impact report confirm the long standing view of the Scottish Government that our migrant workforce make positive contributions to our economy and local communities.

“Many sectors of the Scottish economy are reliant on migrant labour, which helps meet demand for labour, and also address skills shortages.

“It is extremely important that we remain part of the European family, so that we can continue to have access to the European Single Market, and access to the free movement of people who may wish to live and work here. Our priority is to protect all of Scotland’s interests and we are considering all possible steps to ensure Scotland’s continuing relationship with the EU.”

The review states that migration does not appear to have had a statistically significant impact on the average wages and employment opportunities of the UK-born population in periods when the economy is strong, but that there is some evidence of labour market displacement when the economy is in recession.

It said evidence indicates that any adverse wage effects of migration are likely to be greatest for resident workers who came to Scotland as migrants themselves, and that displacement effects dissipate over time, as the labour market adjusts.

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