"This paper assesses the fiscal consequences of migration to the UK from the Central and Eastern European countries that joined the EU in May 2004 (A8 countries). We show that A8 immigrants who arrived after EU enlargement in 2004, and who have at least one year of residence – and are therefore legally eligible to claim benefits - are 60% less likely than natives to receive state benefits or tax credits, and 58% less likely to live in social housing": this comes from "Assessing the Fiscal Costs and Benefits of A8 Migration to the UK"
Thus, from an empirical position, the immigration problem might be restated as:
- How can we get more productive immigrants to come here (ie, Poles) while stopping less productive immigrants from making it across the channel and,
- How can we persuade the feckless and stupid (whether immigrants or not) to leave?
The second point is particularly difficult. Clearly, if you are feckless and stupid, you will have no incentive to do anything other than stay here and live on welfare. But suppose you were offered the chance to go and live somewhere sunny like Sierra Leone for 2/3 of your benefits? After all, 2/3 of UK benefits is a tidy income by Sierra Leone standards and it would be a way for us to save a third on the welfare budget right away.