Economist: Immigration Contribution to French Budget Increasingly Negative

Italian policemen disperse around 200 migrants who were staging a sit-in at the border between Italy and France in the city of Ventimiglia, Italy, on June 13, 2015. The Italian police, wearing riot gear, tried to push the migrants back towards the town of Ventimiglia, five kilometres (three miles) from …

French economist Jacques Sapir has said that immigration is becoming increasingly costly to the French government’s budget, despite some positive effects on economic growth.

Sapir, one of France’s foremost economists, says that while immigration “mechanically stimulates consumption and investment,” it is having an increasingly negative effect on France’s budget and tax system.

In an article written for the magazine Marianne, Sapir notes that France, in particular, has favoured chain migration — or “family reunification” — over work-focused immigration since the 1990s.

Sapir cites an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) study that claims immigration costs the French state 0.52 per cent of GDP per year.

“If we attempt an overall assessment, including the various omissions of the various studies, we arrive at levels that are close to -0.7 per cent/-0.8 per cent of GDP per year,” Sapir writes.

“Finally, it should be pointed out that some populations, because of their low level of education and their poor command of the French language, have a higher individual cost than others,” he added.

According to the economist, there is also a trend of downward pressure on wages due to illegal employment: “Local studies in sectors where employment is important (especially catering) show that there is indeed a downward trend in wages.”

Sapir’s comments come a year after a French parliamentary report determined that mass migration had been net neutral for the French economy, rather than a positive boost as its advocates claim.

Pierre-Henri Dumont, one of the authors of the report, also championed a change in focus on immigration from family-orientated migration to work-orientated migration.

“The impact of immigration on public finances is a little more negative in France than on average in the OECD, in particular, due to the low employment rate of immigrants and the redistributive scope of the French socio-fiscal system for the benefit of low-income households, among which there are many immigrants,” the report stated.

Other countries in Europe have also seen economic difficulties as a side effect of mass migration, such as Sweden where several municipalities which took in large shares of migrants since the 2015 migrant crisis have complained of strained budgets and strained social services.

A report from November of 2019 revealed that eight out of ten municipalities were forced to examine serious cuts to local services due to both changing demographics and the costs of newly arrived migrants.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)



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