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UK Immigration Amnesty Could Reap GBP1Bn In Tax For Treasury

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

17 July 2007


New Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith should back a plan to allow almost half a million people who are currently living illegally in the UK to stay in Britain and pay taxes, according to think-tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research.

The IPPR’s research shows that regularising the nearly half million people who currently live and work illegally in the UK could net the Treasury around GBP1 billion a year, compared to the GBP4.7 billion that it would cost to deport them forcibly.

The plan was backed by Smith's new cabinet colleagues Alan Johnson and Harriet Harman during Labour’s Deputy Leadership campaign, the IPPR said.

“Illegal immigration is a deeply difficult subject for politicians to tackle. But Jacqui Smith should listen to her cabinet colleagues and back a plan for regularising the nearly half million people who live and work illegally in the UK," Dr Danny Sriskandarajah, IPPR Head of Migration and Equalities commented.

“The simple truth is that we are not going to deport hundreds of thousands of people from the UK. Our economy would shrink and we would notice it straightaway in uncleaned offices, dirty streets and unstaffed pubs and clubs. So we have a choice: make people live in the shadows, exploited and fearful for the future; or bring them into the mainstream, to pay taxes and live an honest life," he added.

Similar measures are currently being considered in the United States, where the Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits and Security Act of 2007 proposes a mechanism for irregular immigrants who have been working regularly in the US for a minimum of two years in agricultural industries, to obtain temporary legal resident status for themselves, spouses, and dependent children that may be extended to permit permanent residency.

Spain’s latest regularisation programme resulted in around 700,000 workers being allowed to stay, increasing Spanish tax revenue by an estimated EUR750 million per year.


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