July 29, 2014

Will David Cameron’s plans for immigration work for the UK?

David Cameron has announced a “crackdown” for European Union migrants seeking benefits.

In an article for the Telegraph, Cameron says the coalition government will introduce laws ensuring migrants from the EU can only claim out-of-work benefits for three months. He has also pledged to stop more than 500,000 British jobs being advertised across the EU.

But could this approach actually cost the UK more in the long term?

Research shows that welfare benefits are not a key deciding factor for migrants. Policies which restrict immigrants’ access to benefits are likely to worsen their socio-economic integration and ultimately could lead to an increase in welfare claims.

Aside from benefits, immigration is a positive factor in increasing international trade and the adoption of more liberal migration policies are encouraged to support encourage trade. It follows that the economic benefits of trade could be harmed by stopping job recruitment from across the EU, placing barriers in the way of a necessary flow of skilled and non-skilled immigrants.

Advice from the International Monetary Fund supports a more open approach to immigration, “Relaxing immigration requirements in areas with labour shortages, such as manufacturing, could provide a boost to productivity and facilitate the rebalancing of the UK economy.”

Learn more about the impact of migration on trade and employment effects of migrants.