Immigration is a sensitive topic in the UK amongst many people and is behind many political decisions, not least being one of the most significant factors for so many who voted for Brexit (to leave the EU) in 2016. But do we really know the facts behind the immigration figures? I didn’t, until I started looking into them.

I always thought immigration figures represented those who come to the UK with the intention of working and living here permanently. But they don’t. They include anyone who stays for a minimum of 12 months.

In 2019, 36% of all immigrants to the UK were STUDENTS. 98% return home after they finish their courses – of those who remain, most are granted asylum. All these students are putting a huge amount into our economy whilst taking nothing out of it! Our universities depend on overseas students’ fees (14% of their income) to keep them running and to subsidise UK students who pay so much less.

Of the remaining immigrants who arrive in the UK, virtually all already have job offers; so they are not coming to look for work and “steal” British jobs. From food production to healthcare, many industries the UK depends on would struggle without the contribution of migrants. 26% of doctors in the NHS were born abroad – migration is vital to the health of the nation.

When asked to guess what percentage of our population are foreign-born, the average figure guessed was 21% when the latest official estimate is only 13% – and this includes people like me.

Overall, migrants give more to the UK than they take. For example, between 2001 and 2011, migrants from the European Economic Area contributed 34% more in taxes than they received in benefits. 93% of people claiming welfare payments like jobseeker’s allowance or disability benefits are British nationals, not immigrants.

In turn, the UK is the 10th largest source of migrants to the rest of the world and has the largest number of people living abroad of any European country. We never hear white British people complaining about that!

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