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Welfare Participation by Immigrants in the UK


  • Drinkwater, Stephen

    () (University of Roehampton)

  • Robinson, Catherine

    () (University of Kent)


Welfare participation is an important indicator of how successfully immigrants perform in the host country. This paper examines this issue for 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 focuses in particular 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 benefit claims, including an investigation of the impact of education, ethnicity and years since migration. Social welfare claims vary considerably by immigrant group as well as by the type of benefit claimed in the UK. There is also some variation by gender within the migrant groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Drinkwater, Stephen & Robinson, Catherine, 2011. "Welfare Participation by Immigrants in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 6144, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6144

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephen Wheatley Price, 2001. "The employment adjustment of male immigrants in England," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 14(1), pages 193-220.
    2. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr, 2011. "Economic Impacts of Immigration: A Survey," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 1-32, Spring.
    3. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini & Caroline Halls, 2010. "Assessing the Fiscal Costs and Benefits of A8 Migration to the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 31(1), pages 1-41, March.
    4. Blume, Kraen & Verner, Mette, 2007. "Welfare dependency among Danish immigrants," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 453-471, June.
    5. 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.
    6. Alan Barrett & Yvonne McCarthy, 2008. "Immigrants and welfare programmes: exploring the interactions between immigrant characteristics, immigrant welfare dependence, and welfare policy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(3), pages 543-560, Autumn.
    7. Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2014. "The Dynamics of Social Assistance Benefit Receipt in Britain," Research in Labor Economics,in: Safety Nets and Benefit Dependence, volume 39, pages 41-79 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    8. 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).
    9. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri, 2005. "Immigrants in the British labour market," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 26(4), pages 423-470, December.
    10. Clark, Ken & Drinkwater, Stephen, 2005. "Dynamics and Diversity: Ethnic Employment Differences in England and Wales, 1991-2001," IZA Discussion Papers 1698, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini, 2014. "The Fiscal Effects of Immigration to the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 593-643, November.
    2. Clark, Ken & Drinkwater, Stephen, 2013. "UK Migration Policy and Migration from Eastern Partnership Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 7665, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Ibrahim Sirkeci & Necla Acik & Bradley Saunders, 2014. "Discriminatory labour market experiences of A8 national high skilled workers in the UK," Border Crossing, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 4(1-2), pages 17-31, September.
    4. Marcus H. Böhme & Sarah Kups, 2017. "The economic effects of labour immigration in developing countries: A literature review," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 335, OECD Publishing.
    5. Ken Clark & Stephen Drinkwater, 2014. "Labour migration to the UK from Eastern partnership countries," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-19, December.
    6. Cinzia Rienzo & Carlos Vargas-Silva, 2015. "Targeting migration with limited control: the case of the UK and the EU," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-19, December.
    7. Ibrahim Sirkeci & Necla Acik & Bradley Saunders, 2014. "Discriminatory labour market experiences of A8 national high skilled workers in the UK," Border Crossing, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 2014(1402), pages 17-31, September.
    8. Lucia Kureková, 2013. "Welfare Systems as Emigration Factor: Evidence from the New Accession States," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(4), pages 721-739, July.
    9. Nele van der Wielen & Jakub Bijak, 2015. "Welfare participation: A comparison between immigrants and natives in the United Kingdom," Migration Letters, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 12(2), pages 113-123, May.

    More about this item


    immigration; United Kingdom; benefit claims; EU enlargement;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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