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Economists say 30 years of data show asylum seekers are not a burden on European countries

President Donald Trump has taken a hard line on immigration, recently telling reporters that Democrats want immigrants to “infest” the country and asserting that migrants in Germany lead to an increase in crime.

In reality, the effects of immigration are largely beneficial for cities — at least economically, according to a new study of more than 30 years of data from French government research organization the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Clermont-Auvergne University and Paris-Nanterre University.

Researchers examined the arrival of asylum seekers in European Union countries between 1985 and 2015 when the countries saw a boost in traffic due to the Yugoslav Wars between 1991 and 1999. They found a link between an increase in immigrants who become permanent residents with a series of positive effects up to four years after the date, including an increase in gross domestic product, a decrease in the unemployment rate, and increased tax revenues.

Throughout the 90s, Western Europe saw a large increase in asylum seekers following the wars in the Balkans. In the last seven years there has been another increase in asylum seekers in Europe as people flee the instability of countries affected by the Arab Spring or the Syrian civil war. At the same time, the researchers note, the flows of migrants have increased as the European Union expanded eastward in 2004.

To see the impact of asylum seekers and migrants on economic indicators such as Gross Domestic Product per capita, unemployment, and public finances, the researchers used a statistical model developed by the Nobel Prize-winning economist Christopher Sims. This model gave the researchers a better picture of how asylum seekers affect national economies compared to other models, which consider the economic impact of migrants as an input-output equation (i.e., how much is paid to them by the government versus how much they pay in taxes), but don’t take into account other economic interactions captured by Sims’ model.

The researchers found that permanent migrants actually had a net positive impact on the economy of their host country. GDP per capita “significantly” increased and unemployment rates fell. Moreover, the researchers found that “the additional public expenditures, which is usually referred to as the ‘refugee burden,’ is more than outweighed by the increase in tax revenues.”

Asylum seekers also had net positive effects on the economies of their host country, but it takes a little longer to appear. According to the research, positive economic effects from asylum seekers similar to those of other migrants are seen three to seven years after seeking asylum in the country, the point at which some of them become permanent residents of their host country.

“Our results suggest that the alleged migrant crisis currently experienced by Europe is not likely to provoke an economic crisis but might rather be an economic opportunity,” the researchers concluded. “We do not deny that large flows of asylum seekers into Europe pose many political challenges both within host countries and with respect to the European coordination of national policies. However, these political challenges may be more easily addressed if the cliché that international migration is associated with economic burden can be dispelled.”

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Source : https://www.marketwatch.com/story/economists-say-30-years-of-data-show-asylum-seekers-are-not-a-burden-on-european-countries-2018-06-22
Source : https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/ywejb5/30-years-of-data-shows-asylum-seekers-are-not-an-economic-burden