“They’re taking our jobs!”
That’s the rallying cry of people who want to reduce immigration into the UK, or indeed any country that migrants want to enter.
At an emotional level, it feels true: If there is one company with one job vacancy, then you’re more likely to get that job if there isn’t a Romanian immigrant also filling out the job application alongside you.
But it turns out that this feeling is completely false, and the UK’s Office for Budget Responsibility — a non-partisan, independent government agency which provides objective data —
has just published some great charts showing the opposite is true:
Increased immigration actually creates jobs in the long run.
Economists have known this for years, of course. Increased immigration has the same effect as a baby boom — it creates a new pool of young, productive workers, and it increases the percentage of tax-paying workers vs the percentage of elderly people who must be supported by taxes and welfare schemes.
In a nutshell: More immigrants = more workers = more taxes = more prosperity for everyone. (Credit Suisse just published some data on this showing the same thing, if you want more.)
Understanding this economic fact has become crucial now that UKIP, the anti-immigration party, has seats in parliament. To fend off the UKIP threat, David Cameron’s Conservative government has vowed to restrict immigration. It’s crucial because restricting immigration turns out to have a negative effect on job creation, the OBR data show.
Here are the OBR projections. First, look at the projected percentage of people employed under various population scenarios.
A baby boom would be the best thing to happen (“young age structure”). But next to that, high immigration will create a higher employment percentage rate:
In terms of total jobs created, high immigration creates more jobs.
There would be about 4 million more jobs in the UK if there was high migration through 2064, the OBR projects:
Here is why this is important (other than that it would be nice if our elected representatives were literate in basic economics): You need workers to pay taxes to provide the basic services of modern society, health, education and welfare.
Bonus chart! What you pay in tax, and what you receive in benefits, over the course of an average life:
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