Immigrants costing £8000 each

Incomming from Paul Tew, who took a bit of stick in the comments yesterday. He provides a link to a Telegraph article which claims that immigrants cost the tax payer £8000 each. The Telegraph:

Each immigrant costs the taxpayer up to £8,350 a year in healthcare, education and benefits bills, according to official government figures.

Home Office analysis shows that imposing a £200 annual NHS charge on immigrants from outside Europe when they enter the country would deter thousands from travelling to Britain in the first place.

This will result in British residents gaining up to 1,000 jobs a year which would otherwise have been taken by foreign workers, the Home Office said.

The deterrent effect of the health levy is also expected to save the state up to £60 million a year in public services

Paul adds:

It has been calculated that most immigrants cost at least 8k and that doesn’t include defense costs etc. A vast majority of immigrants do not pay 8k tax a year for whatever reason. So most immigrants receives a large subsidy paid for by you and me.

In today’s environment uncontrolled immigration is therefore a [cause] of tax, as all these subsidies have to be paid for by taxpayers eventually.

Some may wish that the state did not subsidise immigrants to the tune of 8k+ – contributions, but that is not the current reality or the near future. It also wont happen in one big bang or unless they personally take action to do something about it.

Of course, it is true that anyone – immigrant or otherwise – is likely to cost the tax payer a large annual amount if they are out of work, even if born in the UK. The per capita spend on the NHS is about £1600 each, so 20% of the figure is something we all consume. Also, I am not sure that the “vast majority” fail to pay £8000 in tax. The state is ~50% of GDP, so we’d expect anyone earning more than ~£16,000 here to have contributed their share one way or another.

But, I am nitpicking, the basic point being that hundreds of thousands of migrants are comming, taking benefits and that a proportion of them are failing to pay off that “debt”. Such behaviour does represent a form of aggression against tax payers. It is arguably still aggression even if they do pay it back, and even if they did not intend to be claiming benefits at all. All the migrants I know personally are (I am sure) on more than £16,000, but if even a single person is a net cost the treasury then there still will have a been a transfer of wealth made under threat of imprisonment, so I am sympathetic towards rational people that find this situation intolerable, just as I am sympathetic to those that find welfare in general intolerable.

The Home Office proposes to charge immigrants £200 up front as an annual contribution to the costs they add to the NHS budget. Good. Moving costs, in part, to be an upfront deal is a simpler and morally cleaner arrangement which undermines the grain of truth in all the unpleasantness directed at immigrants. This is a step in the right direction.



  1. One can have free migration (the United Kingdom had it at the start of the 20th century) and (for a few generations any way) one can have a Welfare State – but one can NOT have both free migration and a Welfare State (and I would include government funded education in that).

    By the way free migration is also incompatible (utterly incompatible) with “Civil Rights” “anti discrimination” “right to be respected” regulations.

    The first (the Welfare State) forces local people to pay for newcomers via taxation. The second (“civil rights”) forces locals to pay for newcomers by making them trade with them (housing and so on) and give them jobs – as the only way of proving one’s innocence of the “crime” of discrimination is to run a de facto quota system for housing and everything else.

    Either way local communities are destroyed – either via taxation or via “civil rights” (“anti discrimination”, “right to be respected”).

    In short if one really wants free migration – one must do away with the political “achievements” of the last century.



  2. You make some good points, but I would like to reply in more cheerful tone, since you and the OP were both gloomy. The cheerful point I’d like to add is that a free market culture could easily design an institution to give everyone the best of all worlds.

    If we have culture of friendly societies and people paying into them (as we did before in this country), then you can imagine a separate friendly society aimed at immigrants, with specialist help on staff and subsidies paid by those with a spiritual or economic interest in subsidising newcomers. For those that actively desire a varied culture, or want cheap staff or any other benefit of immigration, they simply pay into the freindly society as a charitable donation. Newcomers for their part can either pay their way in private health, education or welfare systems or buy into any of the existing friendly soceties. Our specialist institution would be one of many choices for them and they might all work roughly along the lines of todays proposal : asking for an annual fee for insurance against health and welfare needs.

    The “Direct Care” health providers I blogged about a few days ago might also be involved, potentially taking a group subscription from a friendly society with other features, a bit like the PCG offering IT contractors various insurances alongside it’s main product offerings.



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