As thousands risk their lives to reach Europe this summer, Jacob Greaves looks at what migrants offer European economies.
Thousands of people risking life and limb to reach Europe. The story that's dominated both headlines and political discourse this summer. Right down to what we should call those in search of a better life - migrants or refugees. But there's another debate to be had- whether migrants are beneficial to European economies. Reuters chief economics correspondent Bill Schomberg says there are positive indicators. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CHIEF ECONOMIC CORRESPONDENT, BILL SCHOMBERG SAYING: "Some of the NGO's that do work with migrant groups are saying that people who come from countries in the Middle East such as Syria, Iran and Iraq are actually coming with quiet high levels of education and qualifications and that could mean for those immigrants if they're given asylum status and allowed to work in Europe they might find it easier than previous refugees have done." Given the sheer numbers of people arriving each day definitives are hard to come by. A study by University College London last year concluded that immigrants in the UK paid more in taxes than they received in benefits. That has since been challenged in some circles for not sufficiently considering the amount the government must spend on services. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CHIEF ECONOMIC CORRESPONDENT, BILL SCHOMBERG SAYING: "Generally, overall, and some of the research by the organisation for economic cooperation and development backs this up, generally overall, there's no consistent sign from the studies that immigrants represent a net drag on public finances, in fact its more like a small positive." That's some way off current concerns that suggest more migrants might place more strain on jobs and public services. Either way thousands of people are making the perilous journey to European shores. Whilst the economic costs may still be open to dispute, the humanitarian less so, in what has become the biggest refugee crisis since World War Two.