Poverty and the UK post-Brexit points-based immigration system

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



CPC Policy Briefings



Publication date

September 15, 2022


This briefing summarises two recent studies on migrant families in the UK. The first study established the lifecourse experiences of migrants, to understand their routes to partnership, fertility, and employment. This was achieved using large-scale longitudinal data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS). The second study examined the UK’s post-Brexit points-based immigration system, which prohibits migrants from claiming public funds. The net income of migrant households was compared with the net income of non-migrant households on identical gross wages, calculated using ONS official wage statistics and social rights legislation. The study compared incomes for seven different skilled professions, and three different household types.
The findings suggest that the UK’s points-based immigration system creates greater poverty risks for all working migrants with children compared to non-migrants. It makes economically inactive women with children particularly vulnerable. This affects households with migrant women from South Asia to a much greater extent than European migrants, who are more likely to be economically active and childless during their first five years in the UK.






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