A worldwide discussion in today’s world is the financial impact of immigrants. The topic is particularly controversial in the UK. The public opinion is that the migrants are a toll on the country’s economy. Yet, recent research by Arun Advani of Warwick University shows that the situation is not as it is predicted. The research supervised by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) suggests that a quarter of the UK’s top earners are migrants.

A Quarter of the Biggest Taxpayers are Migrants

Advani’s study challenges the well-accepted notions about the migrant population. According to the research, the top 1% of the UK’s population earns more than GBP 128,000. In this small proportion, there are 525,000 people. The study reveals that 24% of these people moved into the UK as adults. In total, migrants constitute only 15% of the UK’s population.

On the data, Advani comments, “A lot of the worries about migrants is about the bottom end of the distribution, but, actually migrants are hugely prevalent at the top of the income distribution – and therefore paying more tax.”

When focused on the top 0.001% of the population, the migrant’s share increases. Almost 40% of the top 0.001% of the taxpayers in the UK are immigrants. Whereas in low-income groups, migrants constitute around %17 of the population.

Migrants Relocate to the UK for Well-Paying Jobs

The data in Advani’s study suggests that migrants take advantage of well-paying job offers. Recent statistics show that high-earner migrants increase in number every year. The paper highlights that “There are 52% more migrants in the top 1% in 2018 than in 1997, and more than twice as many in the top 0.01%.”

Advani says that the data surprised him, but it is not shocking. He points out the fact that migrants populate the big business centers of the UK. He remarks, “People may not think of ‘migrants’ as being rich, but if you stop and think who are the wealthy people hanging out in Mayfair, a lot of them are not UK-born. Or if you go to Canary Wharf [where many of the world’s biggest banks have their European headquarters] you will hear a lot of voices in [other] European languages because people come here for well-paying jobs.”

Additional Taxation on the Wealthy to Manage Covid-19 Might be a Bad Idea

The UK currently considers implementing additional wealth taxes. To tackle Covid-19, the government believes that additional taxes might be very helpful. However, Advani warns politicians against potential danger. The high-earner migrant population of the UK is in the country because of the financial benefits. If they are forced to pay more taxes, they might leave the country which in turn decreases the tax revenue.


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