Four misconceptions about its “weight” in immigration and the economy


What is the contribution or possible cost of immigrants to France? Several members of the Economic Analysis Council (CAE), a research institute belonging to Matignon, investigated this delicate issue on Tuesday and released some notes. “Public debates about immigration are dominated by issues of identity and security (…) The real issue of economic migrants, the issue of long-term growth, is never discussed,” authors Emmanuel Oriol and Hiller.・ I regret Lapoport.

In addition to making a set of recommendations (see the box at the end of the article) to attract qualified workers, CAE works to dismantle certain immigration prejudices regarding available jobs. I’m out. 20 min We’ve put together the four most impressive elements for you.

Misunderstanding n ° 1: “Accepting refugees costs a lot of money”

In France, refugees make up about 550,000 (including 118,000 ongoing asylum claims), or 0.8% of the total population. In the case of CAE, “The host country must first provide assistance and physical assistance for the installation. [des réfugiés], This represents the cost. According to a 2016 IMF survey, this cost of asylum seekers reached € 1 billion annually in France (that is, 0.05% of GDP). Nevertheless, the CAE report states that “these public spending are not deadweight losses from an economic point of view.”

Indeed, “the aid provided to refugees, whether financially or directly in the form of goods and services, leads to an immediate increase in national consumption in the form of housing, food and services. In addition, this aid is similar to a plan to stimulate the economy through consumption. ”ACE is based on a 2018 study investigating the impact of asylum seekers on the European economy between 1985 and 2015. This shows that the financial weight of asylum seekers, or costs, is negligible in the short term. In the long run, the integration of refugees into the labor market is also beneficial to the global economy as refugees pay taxes and contributions. [nt] Initial public expense for hosting soon “.

Misunderstanding n ° 2: “Immigrants take on French jobs”

According to the CAE, “immigrants” based on the 2015 survey * [en France] It has a positive effect on both the employment of indigenous peoples who have the same level of qualifications as wages. Other studies conducted in the United States show subtle differences, and the influx of immigrants could temporarily increase the unemployment of unqualified workers, even if this effect disappears in the long run. It points out that there is.


This adverse effect is further offset by other factors. “By hiring skilled foreign workers, we can ease labor market tensions without penalizing local workers,” says CAE. In these pressured jobs, the arrival of immigrants has not led to a decline in the average salary of French workers. “As a whole, immigrants have a weak impact on the labor market in the short term,” the authors say.

Myth # 3: “France is too generous to asylum seekers and refugees”

For CAE, the problem needs to be undone. Indeed, “deteriorated acceptance conditions weigh heavily and permanently on refugees’ economic and social trajectories, thus causing losses to the host economy as a whole.” In other words, the slower refugees integrate into the labor market, the less benefit they feel to society.

However, in France, asylum seekers are prohibited from working for the first six months of their arrival in the territory. “The length and uncertainty of the asylum application process has a detrimental and lasting impact on the economic integration of new arrivals,” the author explains. Therefore, according to the latter, countries are all interested in facilitating the rapid acceptance and integration of refugees in several aspects (employment, language skills, social relations).

Misunderstanding n ° 4: “Overall, immigration is a burden on the French economy”

“Immigrants do not increase the public deficit,” CAE replies. Depending on the country and year, immigrants’ net financial contributions range from + 0.5% to –0.5% of GDP. Beyond this pure accounting aspect, memos claim the fact that skilled immigrants can often create and innovate businesses: In the United States, “immigrants make up only 13% of the population, but they. Represents 26% of entrepreneurs. “

Nevertheless, France is experiencing a slightly different situation. “Immature, undiversified, geographically concentrated migrants like us bring a bias to public perception,” and therefore can attract the talent of foreigners of all origins. Acknowledge the authors who are essential (see box) below).

Finally, the CAE said, “Irregular immigrants (…) are not well tolerated by public opinion. One way to discourage it is to limit its profits. This is a random check of companies. It means strengthening. “But at this point, these checks are” equivalent to less than 10% of the checks in the fight against illegal labor (…) This means that the employer is a worker in an irregular situation. Not enough to discourage the use of. “

* Ortega J. and G Verdugo (2015): “The Impact of Immigrants on the French Labor Market: Why Is It So Different?», Labor Economics, vol. 29.