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29 Aug 2015

Economist (UK)

Economist argues for more flexible labour market to allow refugees to work

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"Let them in and let them earn", 29 Aug 2015

Europe’s labour force is ageing and will soon begin to shrink. Its governments have racked up vast debts which they plan to dump on future generations. This will be harder if those future generations are smaller. Immigrants, including asylum-seekers, are typically young and eager to work. So they can help ease this problem: caring for the elderly and shouldering a share of debts they had no role in running up...The fear that they will poach jobs or drag down local wages is also misplaced. Because they bring complementary skills, ideas and connections, they tend to raise the wages of the native-born overall, though they may slightly reduce those of unskilled local men. And the migrants themselves benefit enormously. By moving to Europe, with its predictable laws and efficient companies, they can become several times more productive, and their wages rise accordingly...[T]he answer to the broader question—how can Europe assimilate migrants better?—can be summarised in three words: let them work... A more open Europe with more flexible labour markets could turn the refugee crisis into an opportunity, just as America did with successive waves of refugees in the 20th century, including plenty from Europe. Let them in, and let them earn.