Cashing Out: Germany Migrant Bill to Top a Trillion Euros – Academic

© AP Photo / Armin Weigel/dpaGermany asylum seekers
Germany asylum seekers - Sputnik International
About 1.5 million refugees have arrived in Germany since 2015, prompting local authorities to allocate huge sums for migration-related issues. Speaking to Sputnik, Professor Bernd Raffelhuschen from the University of Freiburg specifically focused on the long-term costs of pensions and sickness insurance for migrants.

Sputnik: Mr. Raffelhyushen, can you name the approximate state expenditures caused by the inflow of migrants starting in 2015?

Bernd Raffelhuschen: We have yet to define the exact number of refugees who arrived in Germany between 2016 and 2017. But if you just imagine that these people are not highly skilled workers and that some of them are not young, you can clearly understand that during their lifetime, they will pay out far less than they expect to get in the form of social benefits. And the gap between this ranges from 350,000 euros to 450,000 euros per refugee throughout his life.

Sputnik: From 350,000 to 450,000 euros per refugee or migrant – how would you estimate this sum in terms of the entire state?

Bernd Raffelhuschen: The actual cost will stand at almost a trillion euros. But it will be distributed for many years, namely, until the moment when, to put it bluntly, the last migrant dies, turning into a hundred-year old man who will need social care. Each year, 20 billion euro will be spent on migrants [in Germany].

Sputnik: Are we talking about a temporary increase in expenses caused by an influx of migrants? Or will it be a permanent item of expenditure in the state budget given that all this pertains to pensions, health insurance and other migration-related issues?

Bernd Raffelhuschen: This is the very topic which is constantly hushed up during discussions. We have always talked about the cost of accommodating migrants and their short-term admission. But we did not say that if an average migrant at the age of 30 is engaged in low-skilled work for the rest of his life and if he needs five to six years to integrate, then he will definitely have to work till he turns 80 to receive a pension that will be larger than a social allowance.

READ MORE: 'We Must Tell Refugees They're for Limited Period of Time in EU,' German MP Says

Also, we failed to mention the fact that these people will be able to independently pay 20-25 percent of their health care expenses, while the rest will be paid by others. This is not due to the fact that they are foreigners or migrants, but because of the fact that they are engaged in low-skilled work.

Sputnik: It means that a decline in public debt may also be under threat in the long run?

Bernd Raffelhuschen: It depends on how we will react to it. We can refinance expenses on poor low-skilled migrants who will not have a real chance to become rich by reducing other expenses.

Or, of course, we can make new debts. The future – and above all the politicians of the future – will tell us how they are going to cope with this. They will not get out of the trap of debts or expenses because we have an absolutely and disproportionately generous social state in Germany. We cannot afford it – even for ourselves but we distribute it among a large part of immigrants. It is just not particularly sensible.

Sputnik: The economy has a partial argument – Germany needs manpower. Will the costs of immigration be compensated by acquisitions in the labor market someday?

Bernd Raffelhuschen: Definitely no, but a possibility remains.  Immigration is not something that is bad; it is actually a positive moment. We earn a living by receiving qualified migrants and we really should try to intensify this process. We are a country of immigration, and we should keep it so. But we had to comply with an immigration rule which reads "do ut des" (that is, I give it so that you also give it), namely, we should give and take.

We need to keep an eye on the situation so that [only] qualified young migrants of childbearing age arrive in Germany.

Immigration on a random basis – just because the situation in Libya is almost identical to war, and the relevant people from southern Sahara have the opportunity to come – is a random migration that will not help us.

READ MORE: Some Refugees 'Undoubtedly' Pose Security Threat – German Chancellor Merkel

First and foremost, it is because these people are so low-skilled, that we simply cannot provide them with employment here. In addition, we do not have jobs for our own low-skilled workers.

Sputnik: And what about the humanistic idea mentioned by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015?

Bernd Raffelhuschen: The humanistic idea stipulates that political asylum is granted to those who are persecuted for political reasons. But these people are not persecuted for political reasons.

The humanistic idea envisages that one should try to help poor countries get back on their feet without trying to provide people who live there with an acceptable life in Germany because it is a utopia. In Germany, these people will for a long time be among those who do not enjoy benefits.

Sputnik: In the state apparatus, all immigration creates new jobs. At the moment, the problem is simply that the state is unable to deal with each and every asylum request. How do you think the problem should be tackled?

Bernd Raffelhuschen: In Germany, the problem, of course, is that the only reason for immigration is providing asylum. The "green card" did not become the same phenomenon as the "blue card."

But we have migration experience which – now we cannot but see it – was positive. That is, immigrants of the 1990s were integrated very well. This, in principle, was also the result of the situation in which the war was taking place. And this also sometimes added to creating jobs in the state apparatus.

Sputnik: You mean, first of all, migrants from former Yugoslavia and the former USSR?

Bernd Raffelhuschen: Yes. Those migrants were, in principle, integrated very easy. Migration from Poland also went very well and comfortably. Among other things, we have close cultural circles which are easily integrated, something that should be clearly understood.

Sputnik: Once again, let's get down to the state apparatus – how one should resolve the problem pertaining to a lack of public servants? Should authorities hire them for a short time or train employees from other areas?

Bernd Raffelhuschen: It is clear that in the past three years, the state apparatus has increased as a result of an inflow of migrants. We need much more social workers and policemen and we should show a different approach to organizing public places in Germany.

Although all this was clear from the very beginning, it was quickly postponed because it requires huge expenses. The important thing is that there should be no recruitment for long terms because thinking that we will allow such events to happen again is an illusion. Even Chancellor Merkel says so.

Sputnik: Don't you think that there we will see the same numbers again? Do you think that they will decrease?

Bernd Raffelhuschen: These figures will certainly be reduced. They shrink after each major wave [of migrants], and now they are also decreasing. But one thing is quite clear: a wave of migrants is followed by another one, and we must be ready for this. Because once again, it is not about isolating Europe. Germany or Europe is not rich enough to save the whole world again. When we earlier tried to do so, we often came to a standstill.

Sputnik: Can you briefly elaborate on how a possible new German government should tackle the refugee issue in the future?

Bernd Raffelhuschen: I expect the new government to try to intelligently grapple with the issue. I hope they will tell low-skilled workers: we have nothing to offer you, we cannot really integrate you and you will not be happy here. Also I hope that it will be absolutely clearly indicated that we are paying earnest attention to the external borders of Europe as well.

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