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Welfare participation by immigrants in the UK

  • Stephen Drinkwater
  • Catherine Robinson

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the welfare participation of immigrant groups in the UK, which has experienced a large growth in its immigrant flows and population levels in recent years, especially following EU enlargement in 2004. The analysis particularly focuses on the types of benefits that immigrants tend to claim, as well as examining differences by area of origin. It also examines the factors that determine social assistance benefit claims, including an investigation of the impact of education, ethnicity and years since migration. Design/methodology/approach – A series of probit regression models are estimated using data from the UK Labour Force Survey collected between 2004 and 2009. Findings – Social welfare claims vary considerably by immigrant group as well as by the type of benefit claimed in the UK. There are also differences by immigrant group in the factors determining social assistance claims. Research limitations/implications – It is very difficult to generalise on the issue of welfare participation by immigrants in the UK. This is important, given policy changes towards migrants from non-EU countries and in relation to welfare reforms. Originality/value – The limited previous work in this area for the UK has tended to analyse all benefit claims made by immigrants as a whole, whereas this analysis splits immigrants into different groups and focuses on the types of benefits that are claimed. This has important implications, particularly given the recent increase in immigration to the UK.

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Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Manpower.

Volume (Year): 34 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 100-112

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Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:34:y:2013:i:2:p:100-112
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  1. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr, 2011. "Economic Impacts of Immigration: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 16736, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael Baker & Dwayne Benjamin, 1995. "The Receipt of Transfer Payments by Immigrants to Canada," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 650-676.
  3. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri, 2005. "Immigrants in the British labour market," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 26(4), pages 423-470, December.
  4. Drinkwater, Stephen & Eade, John & Garapich, Michal, 2006. "Poles Apart? EU Enlargement and the Labour Market Outcomes of Immigrants in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 2410, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Stephen Wheatley Price, 2001. "The employment adjustment of male immigrants in England," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 193-220.
  6. Kenneth Clark & Stephen Drinkwater, 2006. "Dynamics and Diversity: Ethnic Employment Differences in England and Wales, 1991 - 2001," School of Economics Discussion Papers 1206, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  7. Cappellari, Lorenzo & Jenkins, Stephen P., 2009. "The Dynamics of Social Assistance Benefit Receipt in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 4457, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini & Caroline Halls, 2009. "Assessing the Fiscal Costs and Benefits of A8 Migration to the UK," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0918, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  9. Alan Barrett & Yvonne McCarthy, 2008. "Immigrants and Welfare Programmes: Exploring the Interactions between Immigrant Characteristics, Immigrant Welfare Dependence and Welfare Policy," Papers WP238, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  10. Blume, Kræn & Verner, Mette, 2006. "Welfare Dependency among Danish Immigrants," Working Papers 06-6, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
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