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How much does Migration cost Germany every year?

Dr Gunnar Beck – EU lawyer and legal theorist, SOAS University of London - was one of the many notable presenters taking part in the recently held 'Budapest Summit on Migration' and gave a most thought-provoking lecture on the subject of the 'Costs of Migration' - particularly for Germany. What follows is a summary of his key ideas given at the Budapest conference:


Dr Gunnar Beck is German, a constitutional lawyer and legal theorist at the SOAS University of London. He is also the author of multiple publications, journal articles, and books.

Beck studied politics, philosophy, law and economics in Germany and Great Britain. He has also worked as deputy legal adviser in EU law at the British House of Commons. Prior to that he taught EU law, political philosophy and international relations at Oxford University and the London School of Economics. He was appointed Professor of Law at the University of Sussex in 2016 and has been teaching EU law at SOAS University of London since 2005.

Migration into Germany since 2015

According to official statistics, around 1.7 million migrants have applied for asylum in Germany since 2015. This figure only discloses the number of people who registered their case legally. It is well known that many more entered the country illegally.

Both conservative estimates and the calculations of Dr Beck suggest that over the last four years, at least two million migrants from the Middle East and Africa have entered and settled in Germany,

a larger number than what is portrayed in the official records. Migrants with permits are entitled to be reunited with their families which inflates the numbers even further.

On their arrival, most migrants, especially Africans, are practically illiterate and are unfamiliar with the Latin alphabet. They have, at best, an elementary education and virtually none speak German.

The cost of Migration for Germany

If we analyse the calculations of the economist Hans-Werner Sinn, Professor at the University of Munich and President Emeritus at the Ifo Institute for Economic Research,

We discover that the average migrant will cost the German taxpayer €450,000 over their lifetime

(Taking an average of 45 years). For the two million immigrants, this works out at approximately €20 billion annually. When totalled, the final figure for the two million emigrants comes close to a staggering €900 billion spread over their entire lifespan.  (45 times 20 billion)

According to recent official German estimates, the actual figure could be even higher, in a nutshell, the two million immigrants so far may be costing Germany around €25 billion every year.

Add to this the fact that the German government proposes and is willing to accept another 200,000 migrants every year, plus family members of those already settled. 

As a result, we are discussing the lifetime cost of about four million migrants from 2015 over the next ten years. And so, numbers added up will result in an  astonishing two trillion euros, according to the calculations of Professor Gunnar Beck.

One now starts to wonder whether this incredible amount of “invested” money may prove beneficial to Germany in the long run—at least financially.

We note, however, that Dr Beck was not discussing the other side of the balance sheet: to what extent the projected taxes paid by residents on their income and profits by the end of their lifespan (once or if they start properly working) play part in the calculations.

Finally, it is also a relevant question what effects these two to four million foreign persons would mean for the social cohesion of society. And the business of their successful cultural integration into German society is still an open question.

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