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UK immigration: Debate on immigration continues

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A new study claims that the British Government's statements about the benefits immigration brings to the country are exaggerated, reports The Telegraph newspaper.

The report released by the Migrationwatch pressure group argues that statistics quoted by Prime Minister Tony Blair and other ministers, indicating that migrants contribute an additional 0.5 percent to GDP, and create 2.5 billion pounds more to the economy than they cost to the taxpayer are misleading. Instead, the pressure group says that once all of the costs of extra infrastructure such as schools and hospitals are added in, migrants add just 0.1 percent to GDP. At the same time they accept that employers benefit from greater access to both skilled and unskilled workers.

"It is extraordinary that this Government's principle justification for the current migration levels is built on such shaky foundations", said Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch.

There have been a number of other organisations that have said that immigration to the UK is positive and should be encouraged. Many employers groups say they are facing skills shortages and need to bring in people from abroad. For example, The National Health Service in the UK depends to a great extent on people from abroad.