Brexit Brollocks – Immigration by Numbers

So we’ve looked at the slippery truth behind whether we’d be better or worse off financially if we vote to leave the EU but perhaps the bigger issue, if you believe the newspapers that is, is immigration. How many people are coming and staying here? Is it actually a problem? Do they take more money or bring in more money for our country? These are the questions I shall be attempting to find an answer too.

For the year from 2014-2015 (the most recent year we have half decent figures for) immigration from people born within the EU was at 257,000 (compared to 246,000 the year earlier) whilst immigration from those who came from outside the EU was 273,000 (down from 289,000 the year before). That’s over 600,000 people so whichever way you look at it is a big number. Throughout that same time period (2o14-2015) around 250,000 people left the UK so net migration is around 350,000 (I’m simplifying the numbers I know). We’ve a problem with net migration figures though so after pointing this figure though – Most of the people who are coming in to the UK are coming to work. Most of those leaving the UK are retiring to warmer countries so we’re not replacing like with like.

Another issue about EU membership is that it will have ZERO impact on the 273,ooo people who arrived from outside the EU. The EU guarantees that anyone from an EU country can go to any other EU country for work. This is where we see a lot of Eastern Europeans, from countries within the EU, coming over here taking what are often very low paid jobs. If we were to leave the EU we could cut down on the 257,000 of these Eastern European migrants but it would half ZERO practical impact on none EU immigration. Just think about that for a second. All those refugees arriving from Syria who have lost EVERYTHING are not arriving from an EU country so whether we stay or go that problem won’t just magically go away despite what the papers tell you.

Of the none EU migrants 38,878 were what are legally called Asylum Seekers. That is those people who are coming from countries  where they face a very real risk of death if they were to stay. Compare that to the MILLION people that Germany took in in the same period and that number suddenly looks very small indeed. The top five countries, from highest to loweset number of asylum seekers, are as follows: Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria. So most of these Asylum Seekers come from Eritrea. Have you heard of Eritrea before? Or heard it once mentioned ANYWHERE in the press? I know I haven’t.

Eritrea is a country on the east coast of Africa and is considered The North Korea of Africa. It’s a small country that keeps itself fiercly isolated from the outside world and does not allow many personal freedoms. It’s also NOT in the EU so has no relevance to the Brexit debate so don’t believe the bollocks you read.

Another myth we’re constantly told, especially by the Leave camp, is that immigration from within the EU is “benefit tourism” so they’re all coming over here for hand outs. Whilst that is true in some cases, I’d be insane to deny that it happens, on the whole it is definitely NOT the case.

Several independent studies have been done in to the cost of immigration and the results might surprise you as they certainly did me. From 2005-2015 EU Immigration brought a net GAIN of £20Billion to the UK Economy. So having these immigrants coming over here actually made our economy BETTER off. They brought significantly more money in to the UK than they took out. That figure is undeniable.

A study in 2013 found that less than 38,000 recipients of Job Seekers Allowance were immigrants from EU countries. Compare that to the 2 million or more Brits who receive JSA and the number is tiny. An ongoing study by UCL shows that, since the year 2000, EU Immigrants are 43% LESS likely to receive benefits than those born in the UK. “Immigrants, especially in recent years, tend to be younger and better educated than the UK-born and less likely to be unemployed,” the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE concluded in a separate report.

An other big argument is that they’re coming over here taking our jobs. Well there might be something to them coming over here for jobs as 60% of those arriving were arriving with a job waiting for them. Current figures from the Labour Force Survey show that 28.3 million Brits were in work in 2015. Compare that to the 2 million EU nationals, and the 1.2 million immigrants from outside the EU, and it does put those figures in to perspective. Roughly speaking just under 10% of the working population are immigrants not born here in the UK.

Immigration causes crime is another big headline you see bandied all over the place. I’ll admit now it’s one that I, on the face, of it believed too. However reports from The Police Association show that crime in areas with high immigration is actually lower than that in areas of low immigration. We might not agree with that but the figures are solid so there you go. Statistics for offenders also show that those who are here as immigrants from the EU are no more, or less, likely to commit a crime than those born in the UK. It appears they just make more headlines when they do…

The last myth we’ll tackle today is that EU Migrants put a strain on services such as schools and hospitals. This, again, simply isn’t true. The fact that they bring significantly more money in to the UK that they take out, including paying more taxes, means that paradoxically these EU migrants are actually subsidising services like the NHS. It takes a while to get your head around that one doesn’t it?

So when it comes to decision day it’s your choice to vote in or vote out. All I ask is that you look through the propaganda of it all and try and find the scant few facts and figures and use them to help you make your decision. There are no right or wrong answers and there is no clear right or wrong way to vote. It’s ultimately about picking the least worst option.