Commenting on the Mayor of London's call to restrict EU immigration during his interview with Andrew Marr, Research Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Bowman, said:
Boris Johnson’s call to restrict EU immigration is barking mad. EU immigration (strictly speaking, EEA immigration) has been extremely good for the UK, with European immigrants being net tax contributors despite the UK running a large budget deficit for this period, according to the best recent research on the topic by Christian Dustmann and Tommaso Frattini. This means that EU immigration has reduced the tax burden on native Britons.
32% of European immigrants are university educated compared to 21% of British natives, European immigrants are more likely to be in work than natives, European immigrants are less likely to draw benefits (which are tightly restricted in any case). In general, there is strong empirical evidence that immigrants boost native wages by increasing total factor productivity.
Freedom of movement is one of the best things about the EU and it would be self-defeating for the UK to try to end it. However the UK’s relationship with the EU ends up, it is vital that we preserve the freedom for people to work where they can find the best deal. Boris Johnson should choose economic openness and individual liberty instead of resorting to shoddy populism.
Notes to editors:
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The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.