Immigrants comprise a quarter of the UK’s top earners
Posted on September 24, 2020
According to research conducted by the University of Warwick, immigrants comprise a quarter of the UK’s top earners. According to data in the research study, 525,000 people in the top 1% are earning more than 128,000 pounds a year. Out of this 24% arrived in the UK as immigrants.
The lead author of the research study, Arun Advani says, “A lot of the worries about migrants is about the bottom end of the income distribution. However, migrants are hugely prevalent at the top of the income distribution – and therefore paying more tax.” This dispels the myth that immigrants are a drain on the UK economy.
Advani who is an assistant professor at Warwick’s economics department and headed the study shared the fact that there are more migrants who are very well paid.
Immigrants are top earners
According to the research, out of the top 0.001% of UK-based earners, 4 out of 10 are immigrants. In the lower-income categories, one in six is an immigrant.
The research study which was based on confidential HMRC tax returns started on the premise that migrants would be overrepresented among high-earners, but the fact discovered in the research was that many of the high-earners were indeed immigrants. Consequently, they pay more tax and are not a drain on the economy as is generally perceived.
The percentage of high-earners among immigrants has been steadily increasing. According to the research paper, titled Importing inequality: UK immigration and the Top 1%, reads: “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%. Almost all [85%] of the growth in the UK top 1% income share over the past 20 years can be attributed to migration.”
Income of immigrants
The research study discovered that 4 out of 10 of the best-paid bankers in the UK are migrants, who earn an average of 383,000 pounds before tax. In the healthcare sector, 40% of the highest-paid people working in hospitals are migrants, earning an average income of 160,000 pounds before tax.
In the web design sector, 51% of the highest-paid people are migrants, earning an average of 259,700 pounds.
Introduction of wealth tax
According to Advani, this research could be relevant to politicians in the UK who are engaged in a debate on introducing a wealth tax on the country’s high-income earners.
Advani cautions that this may be seen as a setback by the UK’s top earners and some may even leave the UK if such a tax is introduced.
The research study is an eye-opener and dispels the myth that immigrants are a drain on the UK economy. On the contrary, they are doing well financially and have access to opportunities that help them thrive in the UK.
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