Migrants cost European authorities less than their own citizens

Migrants cost European authorities less than their own citizens
Migrants cost European authorities less than their own citizens

Migrants cost European governments less than their own nationals. In many cases, their contribution is indeed more positive than that of the native population and, in some countries, migrants even make a net contribution to public finances, economists from the Dutch University of Leiden said on Wednesday.

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The net contribution of EU and non-EU migrants and the native population was calculated for the period 2007-2018 in 15 European Member States. Benefits, such as unemployment or care, were deducted from taxes and contributions paid to the government. It appears that migrants cost much less than the native population in most of the countries studied.

According to economist Giacomo Boffi, who participated in the study, very little research has been done so far on the real costs of migration. “This study debunks the populist myth that migrants are more of a burden on social security and the public purse than their own population. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite.”

The researchers looked at data from Belgium, Germany, Estonia, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Austria, from Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, the Czech Republic and Sweden.

Migrants arriving in the EU are generally quite young. The indigenous population of the countries studied is much older, which means that many of these people receive pensions. Older migrants also tend to receive lower pensions because they have accumulated fewer rights.

During the financial crisis, the net contribution of migrants and natives collapsed, explains researcher Boffi. “After the crisis, the contribution of migrants quickly returned to pre-crisis levels, while the native population lagged behind, due to the increase in the number of pensioners.”

Migrants integrate better, their level of education increases, they earn more money and therefore pay more taxes. Given the aging of the native population, the role of migrants is becoming increasingly important, researchers say.

From a financial and economic point of view, there does not seem to be a migration crisis, says Giacomo Boffi. “On the contrary. It would be wise for Europe to also take economic interest into account in its migration policy.”

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