Last updated June 21, 2018 at 10:45 am
It takes time, but data shows they have a positive impact.
Science has thrown some new evidence into the emotional debate over asylum seekers.
A French study suggests people fleeing to Western Europe to escape war and disaster positively affect the economies of the countries that accept them. While they take longer than other migrants to find their feet, ultimately they contribute more in tax revenues than is required of public spending to support them.
Researchers led by Hippolyte d’Albis from the Paris School of Economics analysed annual economic and migration data from 1985 to 2015 for 15 countries, including those that receive most of the asylum applications in Europe.
Using a panel vector autoregressive model, which quantifies an economy’s response to an unusual external event or “shock,” they found that the flows of both permanent migrants and asylum seekers significantly increased per capita gross domestic product, reduced unemployment and improved public finance balances.
Additional public expense required to support both groups, usually referred to as the “refugee burden,” was more than outweighed by a related increase in tax revenues from these groups in a short time, for the countries and years studied.
The researchers say the effects of migrants’ net flow were positive from the year of the shock. For asylum seekers, it took from one to seven years post-shock, depending on the particular effect.
Europe received more than one million asylum applications in 2015 alone.
The paper published in Science Advances.