NIESR Briefing: Overview of evidence on economic impacts of EU immigration

Pub. Date
19 August, 2019
Pub. Type

As part of a research report on UK Public Attitudes to the Economic Impacts of EU Immigration, published by NIESR and Birkbeck, University of London, in October 2018, we reviewed the existing literature on the economic impacts of EU immigration. We have updated this with the most recent evidence thanks to the support of the ESRC through its Impact Acceleration Award. The following topics are covered in the briefing:

  • Labour market impacts (employment and wages)
  • Productivity impacts
  • Fiscal and public service impacts
  • Impacts on prices and housing


  • EU migrants have no or little impact on overall employment and wages. There is some evidence of negative impacts on low-skilled and low-paid, but these impacts are very small.
  • EU migrants have a positive impact on public finances, but it is unclear whether this ‘migration windfall’ has been used to sufficiently offset pressures to public services caused by the population increase resulting from migration.
  • Despite the increase in population, there is no evidence that EU migration has had negative impacts on public services, but there is a lack of research in this area.
  • There is some evidence that EU migration leads to higher labour and firm productivity.  
  • The impact on house prices and access to social housing depends critically on adjustments to supply. In recent decades, policies on housing construction have not met excess demand.
  • Overall, the evidence shows no or little labour market impacts, and positive impacts on public finances, growth and productivity. But economic impacts of migration cannot be seen in isolation from government policies, particularly on public services and housing.    

Read the full Briefing Note in attachment