Answer Back

Need help having 'political' conversations with your friends and family? We’ve found out the truth behind the most common things people say about immigrants in the UK to help you answer back.

"Immigrants are coming here just to claim benefits."


This isn’t true at all.

Over three quarters of non-EU and EU migrants come here to work or study. Others often come to be with family members who are already working or to claim asylum from dangerous situations.

Migrants are way less likely to claim benefits or tax credits than people who were born in this country. A study done by University College London found they are half as likely as people who were born here to receive state benefits or tax credits.

Migrants actually pay more money into the system through tax than is paid out to them through benefits. So, cheers pals!

Read more about this on Full Fact and In Facts.

"Immigrants are coming here to use the NHS which makes it harder for us to get treatment."


There isn’t any evidence to suggest migrants are coming here just to use the NHS. Migration has meant additional costs for the NHS but other things are having a much bigger impact.

The NHS is under a lot of financial pressure which is likely to continue for a number of years - it’s struggling to cover its rising costs.

One of the main reasons costs are increasing is because people are living longer and treating an ‘aging population’ is expensive. Keeping technology up-to-date and improving standards of care is most expensive of all.

Lots of migrants actually work hard for the NHS - around 11% of all NHS staff and 26% of doctors are non-British.

Read more about this on the Nuffield Trust or Full Fact.

"Immigrants are taking our jobs."


There's no proof that migrants are taking the jobs of UK workers.

If immigrants are taking jobs from British workers, it's pretty odd that we’ve got a high employment rate at the moment. From August to September 2016, 74.4% of people were employed and the unemployment rate was 4.8%. These are some of the best figures in the last few decades!

A recent study from The International Longevity Centre also found out that areas with higher employment rates for immigrants also tended to have more of the white UK-born population in work.

Read more about this at the Office for National Statistics and The Independent.

"Britain is full."


The UK has 694 people per square mile, which means we’re the 51st most densely populated territory in the world. For comparison, Macau (in China) has 55,001 people per square mile and our neighbours in Belgium have 962 people per square mile. So there’s still room in the UK to swing several cats.

There are currently 65 million people living in the UK and the population is growing fast due to people living longer, stable birth rates and migration.

Net migration has risen in recent years - this means there are more people coming into the UK than leaving it.

Population growth can put pressure on housing and services but also means economic growth and more tax revenues.

Read more about this at the Guardian and on Buzzfeed.

"Immigrants are taking our council houses."


People not born in the UK are much less likely than people born in Britain to own their home and much more likely to rent their home from a private landlord.

UK-born and foreign-born individuals have similar levels of participation in social housing.

Of all housing association lettings, more than 9 out of 10 go to UK nationals.

There is a significant shortage of housing in the UK because we are not building enough affordable homes.

Read more about this at the Migration Observatory and the National Housing Federation.