There is a lot of discussions about immigration and its effect on economies lately in Europe, so I'd like to ask a question. Is it true that immigration helps to sustain welfare in rich European countries? For example, in the case of pensions, since life expectation is increasing and natality rates are decreasing in the richest European countries, the ratio of people receiving a pension to that of active workers (who pay those pensions with their taxes) is increasing. Since immigrants usually have a higher natality rate, they should help counteract this effect.
However, often people counter this argument by saying that immigrants receive much more money from welfare, than they return through taxes, for various reasons:
- unemployment is much higher among immigrants than among natives
- there are many irregular immigrants who still receive healthcare (if they go to an emergency room), but who don't pay taxes
Especially (but not only) in Denmark, this constant grievance has reached incredible levels. It seems to me baseless racism, but I'm not an economist, so I'd like to know: are there studies which prove that the contribution to welfare from immigrants is a net positive? Are there studies that indicate that by blocking immigration, rich European countries would risk not being able to pay pensions in the future?