By Emma McClelland - 02 September 2022
How do migrants in the UK understand and navigate the tax system? What barriers exist when it comes to engaging with it? And why is fiscal inclusion so fundamentally important?
These were some of the questions posed by the 'Taxing Migrants' project, which brought together the expertise of front-line advisors from the Work Rights Centre with scholars of migration and tax at the University of Oxford (OSGA/COMPAS).
Why was this project carried out?
Tax and migration are profoundly interlinked in contemporary British society. The fiscal balance is often used to distinguish between 'good migrants', welcomed for their ability to contribute fiscally, and those castigated for 'scrounging'. Tax payments are also part of an everyday infrastructure of citizenship. Paying tax and national insurance contributions is the gateway to accessing benefits and securing a pension, while, in the post-Brexit context, a record of tax contributions is the simplest way for EEA citizens and their family members to demonstrate residence, and secure status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
What were our findings?
The project found that:
How can we increase migrants' fiscal inclusion?
While more research is needed to understand migrants' fiscal inclusion, several recommendations emerged from this project. We recommend that policymakers:
Ultimately, the 'Migrants and Taxes' report demonstrates that fiscal inclusion poses a significant challenge to migrants, their advisers, and the government alike. And while this study was one of the first to examine the concept of fiscal inclusion, it should certainly not be the last.
You can read the full report here.
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