Prof Gary Becker says immigrants should pay to settle in Britain, US
17th June 2010: Nobel prize-winning economist Professor Gary Becker believes immigrants should pay for the right to settle in Britain, and also in the United States.
He also believes the move could generate approximately £17bn a year in Britain, going by the figures provided by the Office for National Statistics. The data shows 503,000 immigrants arrived between October 2008 and September 2009.
Professor Becker is of the view it will be up to individual governments to set a price. In the US, a charge of $50,000 or £34,000 per immigrant could generate $50bn a year.
Professor Becker teaches at the University of Chicago. He won the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Science in 1992,
Before delivering the 19th Institute of Economic Affairs Annual Hayek Memorial Lecture in London, Professor Becker told The Daily Telegraph that the government can set a price to be determined by how many people it likes to admit.
The government will then allow everyone willing to pay that price, but for apparent exceptions like terrorists.
A government loan system could be put in place for ensuring that young and ambitious people can borrow the entry fee and pay it back over a period of time.
The policy will ensure that only the most productive and committed immigrants are attracted, at a time when the present system is not working in countries, including the UK and the US.
Moreover, it will be a revenue raiser for governments at a time of record deficits. For most of the people coming temporarily, it will not be worth paying the price. As such, only people to come will be the ones committed to become British, or an American, or whatever it may be.
He said skilled immigrants would still be lured, as they would be able to generate the highest returns from their investment in the form of the entry fee.
The programme would also go a long way in cutting down the opposition to immigration and will put to an end the feeling that the immigrants were getting a free ride.