Asylum seekers moving to Europe have raised their adopted nations’ economic output, lowered unemployment and not placed a burden on public finances, according to an analysis of 30 years of data from 15 western European countries, including Ireland.
The analysis of economic and migration data by French economists published in Science Advances found asylum seekers added to gross domestic products and boosted net tax revenues by as much as 1%.
The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than one million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa.
The research from 1985 to 2015 looked at asylum seekers - migrants who demonstrate a fear of persecution in their homeland in order to be resettled in a new country.
"The cliché that international migration is associated with economic ‘burden’ can be dispelled," wrote scientists from the French National Centre for Scientific Research, the University of Clermont-Auvergne and Paris-Nanterre University.
The research analysed data from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found. They had a near-zero impact of public finances, it said.
Greece, where the bulk of migrants fleeing civil war in Syria have entered Europe, was not included because fiscal data before 1990 was unavailable, it said.
An annual report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released this week showed the global number of refugees grew by a record 2.9 million in 2017 to 25.4 million.