“Words from readers” - An economic visa to better fight against illegal immigration

Europe's migration policy, based on everything repressive, leads to an impasse

“Words from readers” - An economic visa to better fight against illegal immigration

Europe's migration policy, based on everything repressive, leads to an impasse. Driven by xenophobic populist movements ostracizing migrants – particularly represented in France by the far right and its myth of the great replacement – ​​Europe locks itself in a citadel and strives to repress all immigration, regardless of its own laws. have made it illegal.

In doing so, it does not fulfill its most basic humanitarian duties, flouts international law and derogates from the humanist values ​​on which it is founded and to which it prides itself. Non-assistance to boats in distress in the Mediterranean, bullying, police violence, deplorable reception (migrants parked in camps or abandoned on the street) and degrading treatment of migrants arriving in Europe are daily occurrences.

This would be enough to condemn Europe for its attitude. But that’s not all: this moral scandal is coupled with economic ineptitude. Many economists recognize a positive effect on the economy of the host country: the contribution of immigrants to the economy exceeds the burden they place on social services. According to the OECD, immigration in France generates a surplus equivalent to 1% of gross domestic product, or around 30 billion euros. The figures are comparable in other European countries. “In all OECD countries, notes a report, the contribution of immigrants in the form of taxes and contributions is greater than the spending that countries devote to their social protection, health and education. »

The current period, marked by the aging of the European population, the reduction in the number of active workers compared to retirees and the lack of labor in many sectors, further reinforces the interest in immigration for European economy. Conversely, a perverse economic effect of immigration barriers is rarely highlighted: the very strong limitation of regular immigration, which pushes the development of illegal immigration, enriches a mafia of smugglers and indirectly deprives significant income the country of departure as well as the country of arrival.

Another perverse side effect of the barriers erected by Europe: they discourage limited-term migration. Leaving your country, even if you live there in deplorable conditions, always constitutes uprooting. And the return to the country constitutes for many a horizon which motivates as much as the departure for Europe. Their “economic model” is based on a stay of several years in Europe to amass a small capital allowing them to return to settle in the country while sending income to the family remaining in the country during this stay.

Today, the cost of the trip (estimated at 5,000 to 6,000 euros for smugglers and other expenses during the six to nine months of travel) generates a situation where the migrant must work the first years to repay the loan taken to pay the smugglers then a few more years to build up his capital. At the end of this long period of stay in Europe, even for those who had planned to do so, the desire to return to the country faded. And the difficulties and suffering of the journey also constitute a psychological barrier facing the possibility of a return journey: “All that to return to the country! ? ".

For an average year when there are around a million migrants entering Europe illegally (that is to say excluding students, family reunification, workers), the budget which feeds the various mafias therefore represents around 5 billion euros . It is obvious that this budget would be much better used by being paid partly to the host country and partly to the country of departure. How to do ? The best way to fight illegal immigration is to promote legal immigration.

The granting of an economic visa, paying (a few thousand euros) and of limited duration - three to five years - would make it possible to dry up any clandestine network and to redirect the money currently offered to smugglers in part towards the host country (by paying for this visa), and partly naturally towards the country of departure (by the money sent back to his family by the migrant). In addition, Europe would save many expenses: billions invested in Frontex and in countries deemed “safe” supposed to retain migrants.

Those who nourish the fantasy of the great replacement will object with two arguments. First, what will happen if migrants who have benefited from this type of visa do not wish to leave at the end of the period? They would then have to be integrated. If this concerns half of these migrants, this means that Europe would be enriched by 0.5 million non-European foreigners (or 0.1% of its population) each year. That’s 10% in a century! Second objection: the draft. Yes, such a measure would undoubtedly have an incentive effect. The million migrants will perhaps become 2 million, of whom 1.5 million would like to stay in Europe, or 0.3% of its population each year. This is little in the light of history.

Such a measure on visas would thus put an end to a moral scandal coupled with economic ineptitude. In addition, it would improve relations with the countries of departure of migrants, who are increasingly turning away from Europe, from which they believe they can no longer expect the defense of human rights or contribution to security and development. economic. This benefits China or Russia, which have no problem putting the value of these human rights into perspective and giving the illusion that they make a charitable contribution to development.

Etienne Tricaud, Meudon (Hauts-de-Seine)