Study: Migrants Cost EU Less Than Citizens, Boost Finances

Study: Migrants Cost EU Less Than Citizens, Boost Finances

A recent study by the University of Leiden in the Netherlands found that migrants cost European governments less than their own citizens.

In some countries, migrants even provide net contributions to public finances.

The research examined data from 15 European countries and shows a different view on the financial effects of immigration in the European Union (EU).

Migrants pay more taxes

The study, done by economists Giacomo Boffi, Eduard Suari-Andreu, and Olaf van Vliet, looked at personal income, taxes paid, and welfare benefits received.

It found that in most European countries, migrants cost much less than the native population.

On average, migrants pay more taxes because they integrate well, have higher education levels, and earn more money.

At the same time, they receive fewer expensive benefits like pensions compared to natives.

Growing fiscal gap: migrants vs. natives

The financial difference between migrants and natives has grown in recent years.

By 2017, migrants had recovered their financial status from before 2008, but natives remained at a lower level because aging populations receive more retirement benefits.

The researchers noted that natives have a more negative financial position in most countries and for many years.

This trend is most noticeable in southern Europe, where migrants often contribute more to government finances than they take.

Migrants sustain European welfare status

As European populations get older, migrants are becoming more important for supporting welfare systems. 

Researcher Giacomo Boffi explained that migrants quickly started contributing more money than they took after the financial crisis, while natives are still behind.

Boffi said that because the local population is aging, migrants’ role is becoming more important.

From an economic point of view, it would be smart for Europe to consider its economic interests when making migration policies.

Migrants don’t burden finances

The University of Leiden study challenges the common belief that migrants use more public resources than native citizens. In reality, the data shows the opposite.

Boffi stated that the study disproves the idea that migrants negatively affect social security and public finances more than the native population of European countries.

The evidence clearly shows that migrants usually contribute more than they receive.

Migrant contributions support streamlined travel

The study’s findings could impact the upcoming European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which will launch in 2025.

The ETIAS will pre-screen travelers from countries that do not need visas before they enter the Schengen Area.

Since migrants have a positive financial impact, EU policymakers might look for ways to make ETIAS and other travel processes simpler.

This could encourage more beneficial travel while still keeping security a priority.

The study might also lead to a review of policies affecting long-term migrants like families, investors, students, and digital nomads.

Making it easier for these financially contributive migrants to stay could provide economic benefits.

Study challenges migration policy assumptions

The University of Leiden’s research could change discussions about EU immigration policies.

By showing that migrants often contribute more than they receive, the study challenges common beliefs.

Policymakers working on ETIAS, Schengen visas, and general immigration rules might need to rethink the financial reasons behind some restrictions.

While security is still very important, the findings suggest that welcoming contributing migrants makes economic sense.

As Europe’s population ages, attracting and keeping working-age migrants could be crucial for supporting public finances. The study might lead to reforms that make this easier, benefiting the EU as a whole.

Migration’s vital economic role revealed

This detailed study shows that, on average, migrants in the EU cost public finances less than native-born citizens and sometimes even contribute more.

As Europe’s population ages, immigration is becoming more important to support welfare systems for everyone.

While the social and cultural impacts of migration should continue to be discussed, the economic data shows that welcoming migrants is financially beneficial for Europe.

Policymakers should consider these findings when making immigration policies in the future.