Average migrant worker earns more a year in the UK than British-born

  • Childless couples from beyond Europe enjoy better standard of living than British

Steve Doughty

Last updated at 11:31 PM on 11th January 2012

The average earnings of many immigrants from outside Europe have  overtaken those of people born in Britain.

Research shows that among couples or adults without children, those from beyond Europe’s borders are enjoying the higher standard of living.

Among families with children, migrant incomes still lag behind those of the British-born – although only slightly.

Romanians outside the British Embassy in Bucharest seeking a visa which will give them entry to the UK

Romanians outside the British Embassy in Bucharest seeking a visa which will give them entry to the UK

The findings come in the wake of the calculation by advisers to Home Secretary Theresa May that migration has had a serious impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

The Migration Advisory Committee said that 160,000 jobs of British-born workers were ‘displaced’ because of immigration between 1995 and 2010.

The figures showing the economic success of immigrants were gathered by the Office for National Statistics in its large-scale Labour Force Survey.

However, the ONS has chosen not to analyse the information or to publish it. Instead, the material was made available to the EU’s statistics arm Eurostat, which used it to prepare an analysis of the economic  performance of immigrants across the EU.

Many of the migrants who come into Britain and live without children are highly qualified and command high salaries, for example American bankers recruited to work in the City.

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But the majority of the 300,000 people a year from outside Europe who come here are from countries which are poorer.

The largest provider of migrants to Britain from outside Europe remains India. The EU breakdown of incomes is calculated not in pounds sterling but in ‘purchasing power parities’, units used to even out the effects of the different costs of living in different countries.

It said that in 2008, a British-born person in the UK living in a house with two or more adults but no children could expect a median disposable income of 25,647ppp, while someone born abroad in a country outside the EU living in a similar home could expect to earn 26,267ppp.

Warning: Sir Andrew Green of Migrationwatch UK

Warning: Sir Andrew Green of Migrationwatch UK

For a couple with children, income for each British-born adult in a home would be 19,530ppp, against 18,296 for those born abroad.

In the case of families with children, those born in the EU were wealthier than those born in the rest of the world.

Britain has accepted more than half a million immigrants a year – people from abroad who come to live in this country for more than 12 months – over recent years.

Around 300,000 a year come from outside the EU and they fall into the category where Coalition ministers are most anxious to curb immigration. They include large numbers of highly-qualified individuals from Western countries, such as the U.S. and Australia.

However, the largest single country outside Europe providing migrants to Britain is India, from which just under 12 per cent of all migrants came in 2010.

Sir Andrew Green of the think tank Migrationwatch said the Eurostat findings underlined the conclusions of the Migration Advisory Committee – ‘that most of the benefits of highly-skilled migration go to the migrants themselves’.

Economist Ruth Lea of the Arbuthnot Banking Group said: ‘This should end the perception that immigrant labour consists of downtrodden people coming to do jobs for low wages that British people do not want to do.

‘We have people coming from the four corners of the world and there is a lot of variation among them.’

While there is increasing evidence of the prosperity of migrants, and in particular well-qualified migrants, a high proportion of people born in Britain remain mired in worklessness and benefit dependency.

ONS figures say that nearly one in five of the country’s households has no adult with a job.

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