‘India-born migrants are among most productive in UK’

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Jul 24, 2015 09:36 IST
Family of Lington Monteiro (extreme left) with Goan friends Armando Gonsalves (in dark glasses), Jaime Barreto (extreme right) and others in Monteiro’s house garden in Swindon. (HT Photo)

A leading group campaigning to restrict immigration into Britain has used latest figures in an analysis that suggests migrants born in India are among the most productive and claim the least amount of benefits from the state.

The Indian group compares favourably with those from western Europe, South Africa and the ‘Anglosphere’, Migration Watch said in the analysis that focuses on the three variables of employment rates, wages and the rate of benefits claim.

“The group of migrants in the UK from Western Europe, India, South Africa and the ‘Anglosphere’ exhibit strong economic characteristics – they have high rates of employment at good wages and low rates of benefit claim”, it said.

The analysis from an influential pressure group such as Migration Watch presents a new perspective to the complex discourse of immigration from non-EU countries. Its founding chairman is former diplomat Andrew Green, who was made a life peer by the David Cameron government in November 2014.

The India-born group is among the largest groups in the UK, but the analysis says: “It is notable that for such a large population, the numbers claiming child benefit are considerably lower than for the UK-born. It is the only large population with this characteristic”. It adds: “Earnings for people born in India match those for the UK-born very closely in the lower third of the income distribution but are then consistently higher. People born in Pakistan and Bangladesh tend to have very much lower earnings than the UK-born, with nearly 80% below the UK-born median”.

The Indian-born population in the UK is estimated to be a little over half the size of the population born in western Europe and has a similar age distribution. Employment rates are similar too, though slightly higher for men and slightly lower for women.

“Rates of housing benefit claim are very low for younger working-age people born in India, but much closer to UK-born rates for those aged 55 and over. The pattern for in-work and DWP (Department of Works and Pensions) benefits is very similar to that for Western Europeans, with significantly lower rates than the UK-born at younger ages, but increasing at older ages and associated with generally older age of people with children”, it says.

Compared to the Indian group, the analysis finds that the UK population born in Pakistan and Bangladesh is a similar size to the Indian-born group, but is notable for a smaller proportion post working-age than any large group other than Eastern Europeans.

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