UK Proves Immigration Is Good for the Economy

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What would Jesus say about turning a blind eye on migrants. History has shown that he was a man of great compassion who inspired hope in mankind and saw the good in others. Why can’t States such as the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Poland be more sympathetic when it comes to the European Union’s Migrant Strategy? http://armedia.am/eng/news/18303/eu-countries-oppose-migrants-quotas.html; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11615892/EU-migrant-quota-plan-in-tatters-after-France-and-Spain-join-British-opposition.html Is the explanation really as simple as that they can’t afford the strain on its economy, of course not.

The European Commission (EC) and its Member States can and should institute a Migration Policy that is more in line with common decency and humanity, but it is finding that difficult to do because 10 of its member States oppose such an effort. If the influx of migrants from war torn States like Syria and Northern Africa, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-24583286, was really about preserving State treasuries, then the EC would be acting more swiftly like it did when it bailed out Portugal, Greece and Spain. The slow pace of the EC’s response to the growing influx of migrants evidence an harmful misconception about migrants, which is that they take jobs from the citizens of the host country. The EC’s proposed Migration Plan, which has been floating around since May 2015, calls for EU governments to agree to resettle 40,000 asylum-seekers who reached Italy and Greece over the next two years, based upon a quota system. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/19/us-europe-migrants-centraleurope-idUSKBN0OZ1IB20150619. Hungary, in opposition of that Plan and as reported by Reuters plans on building a four-meter (13-foot) high fence along its border with non-EU member Serbia in an effort to stem the flow of migrants entering its country.

In 2012, in an effort to address citizens’ concerns regarding its growing migrant population the United Kingdom released a report that was completed by the Migration Observatory, http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/britains-70-million-debate/executive-summary, which revealed students were the largest and fastest growing group among non-EU migrants to the UK. With the UK’s population projected to each close to 70 million people by 2035, the report is hoped to assist government official to make well-informed decisions regarding migrants entering its country. http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/britains-70-million-debate/4-migration-non-eu-nationals-effects-recent-policy-changes-net-migration. In fact, that report “suggests that students are less likely to settle in the UK than other categories of migrants, meaning that the bounce effect is particularly severe for students.” Such data challenges the notion that migrants take jobs away from citizens of host countries. In fact, it is my opinion that students and the secondary education industry generate a substantial amount of money for those host nations through the receipt of grants from private donors and from research grants that they receive from large corporations and various government entities. https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/key/date/2007/html/sp070521.en.html.

Interesting fact, between 1990 and the early 2000s the number of EU citizens coming to the UK was broadly similar to the number of UK citizens moving to other EU countries. http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/britains-70-million-debate/5-british-and-other-eu-migration. However, since Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia joined the EU in 2004 considerably more EU migrants have arrived in Britain annually than British citizens have moved from Britain to the (enlarged) EU. That same report noted that in 2010, 156,000 EU migrants came to the UK, while 34,000 UK citizens immigrated to other countries in the EU, but as noted earlier in this article most of the migrant population to the UK are students who latter settled outside of the UK upon completion of their studies.

In May 2014, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) noted the following statistics to counter the misconception about the migrant population http://www.oecd.org/migration/mig/OECD%20Migration%20Policy%20Debates%20Numero%202.pdf:

Labor markets –

Ø  Migrants accounted for 47% of the increase in the workforce in the United States and 70% in Europe over the past ten years.

Ø  Migrants fill important niches both in fast-growing and declining sectors of the economy.

Ø  Like the native-born, young migrants are better educated than those nearing retirement.

Ø  Migrants contribute significantly to labor-market flexibility, notably in Europe.

The public purse –

Ø Migrants contribute more in taxes and social contributions than they receive in benefits.

Ø Labor migrants have the most positive impact on the public purse.
Ø Employment is the single biggest determinant of migrants’ net fiscal contribution.

Economic growth –

Ø  Migration boosts the working-age population.

Ø  Migrants arrive with skills and contribute to human capital development of receiving countries.

Ø  Migrants also contribute to technological progress.

The OECD summarized its findings by maintaining that:

“The impact of the cumulative waves of migration that arrived over the past 50 years in OECD countries is on average close to zero, rarely exceeding 0.5% of GDP in either positive or negative terms. Immigrants are thus neither a burden to the public purse nor are they a panacea for addressing fiscal challenges. In most countries, except in those with a large share of older migrants, migrants contribute more in taxes and social contributions than they receive in individual benefits. This means that they contribute to the financing of public infrastructure, although admittedly to a lesser extent than the native-born.” http://www.oecd.org/migration/mig/OECD%20Migration%20Policy%20Debates%20Numero%202.pdf.

Based upon the empirical data that is outlined in this article, how can one continue to argue that migrants are a drain on a State’s treasury?” Let us all pray that one day the EC find a more humane and dignified way of handling the migrants seeking the safety and security in EU member States, rather than deporting them to face a fate far different than the one they hoped to receive in the EU. As former U.S. President Ronald Reagan famously stated to former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, “open this gate, tear down this wall.” Shortly thereafter, the will of the people saw the Berlin wall come crumpling down. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/president-reagan-challenges-gorbachev-tear-berli-article-1.2251693

What should EU member States do about migrants arriving upon its shores, Let Them In, Let Them Stay!

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Allen Thomas