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Costs of immigration

Anthony Scholefield is an economist. He is also a founder and ex-Secretary of the UK Independence Party. The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee invited him and others to provide written evidence on the economic impact of immigration on Britain.

Scholefield makes the interesting point that -

The issue of the impact of immigration on wealth is rarely discussed. It is this – when an immigrant worker arrives without capital and earns the same as the average native worker, that means the wealth of the country is being shared among more people and, therefore, wealth and capital per head are reduced and the native suffers a loss of wealth and a lower ability to produce income.

How can an immigrant worker finance his initial stake in society – the same amount of wealth that the native workers have been building up over generations and centuries?

How is the loss of wealth to the native to be made up? Is it possible to make it up?

Scholefield's analysis is based on fundamental economic benchmarks, and a review of the wealth the host country provides and the immigrant brings, consumes, and creates. The figures are enlightening, and have never, to my knowledge, been publicly discussed -

The fundamental economic benchmark relating to the economic effects of immigration is that put forward by the National Research Council of the USA, which states that ‘if immigrants have exactly the same skill distribution as domestic workers and if they have brought sufficient capital with them to maintain the US capital/labor ratio, then natives will neither benefit nor lose from immigration’.

From this, my analysis (using 2004 figures) concludes that immigrant workers who bring £141,000 of capital per head into the UK (i.e. the amount of total British wealth divided by the total number of British workers), or £282,000 for a family of four; who make no foreign remittances; and who have at least the mean average skills of natives can possibly be of economic benefit to native Britons (this excludes fiscal and national identity costs).

I cannot do full justice to Scholefield's argument. For more, see the evidence.

It is notable that no political party responded to the Committee's enquiry, but then no political party has grappled with the costs of immigration.