The UK's immigrant population is contributing proportionately more money in tax to the exchequer than native British workers, research has suggested.
Rather than being a burden on the state, as some commentators try to suggest, figures from the left-leaning think-tank the Institute for Public Policy have shown that, for every £100 contributed by a UK-born worker in 2003-04, an immigrant contributed £112.
This has risen from £105 for every native worker's £100 in 1999-2000, said the IPPR. As a whole, immigrants made up 8.7 per cent of the population in 2003-04, but accounted for 10.2 per cent of all collected income tax, the report found.
The Government accrued an average of £7,203 in revenue for each immigrant that year compared to £6,861 per non-immigrant, growing in total from £33.8 billion five years ago to £41.2 billion in 2003-04.
"They are not a drain on the UK's resources," said Nick Pearce, IPPR director.
"Our research shows that immigrants make an important fiscal contribution to the UK and pay more than their share," he added. Their share is also growing more rapidly. While there are more immigrant workers in the UK than the last time the figures were calculated, they are still paying a disproportionate amount in tax relative to their share of the UK population, it argued.
The study found that immigrant workers gross about 15 per cent more per week in pay on average than native Britons, earning £405.83 a week and £355.06 a week, respectively, suggesting that many immigrants are in skilled and better-paying jobs than five years ago.
In terms of cost to the Government, immigrant workers accounted for less Government expenditure, at £7,277 on average, than non-immigrants, at £7,753.
Immigration has been a central theme of the General Election campaign, with many worrying about the impact immigrant workers have on the economy and the country as a whole.