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The benefits of immigration

All too often are the words ‘migrant crisis’ portrayed as some sort of threat. Economically speaking, countries stand to gain far more by welcoming immigrants with open arms than they do by turning them away.

A study by the University College of London showed UK immigrants contributed 34 per cent more in taxes than they received in benefits over 2001-2011. An overall contribution of £2 billion a year that fueled the country's economic growth, whilst dismissing unfounded arguments claiming immigrants are a strain on a country’s economy.

Rather, they serve as an indispensable proportion of a countries workforce.

In Malta, we face a rapidly ageing population as life expectancies rise and birth rates slow. Where it is estimated by 2060 there will be only two working people for every person aged over 65, compared to a ratio of 4:1 today.

Immigration, on a scale significant enough for an expansion in the working population to be seen, will spread the economically dependent (retired) over a greater number of workers, lessening the burden on individual workers whilst also lowering retirement ages. Retirement ages are usually raised in response to a decrease in the size of working population, to increase the amount of people in work.

The only exception to these benefits is if the migrant does not work, which would only be possible for wealthy individuals, who instead support living standards for the host country through increased spending.

The majority of immigrants, however, have to work to put food on the table, and despite what you may have been wrongly told, unemployment benefits in Malta are eligible only to those who have paid a certain amount in taxes (social security contributions), as is the case in most countries. The notion that one can move country and live off of benefits is entirely fictional.

Additionally, roughly one out of every three properties in Malta is unoccupied.

Maltese property prices have historically risen as demand exceeded supply, as Malta has limited space to build. Now however, there is the prospect that property values may dip to reflect the amount of empty properties available.

The ‘Malta has no space’ argument no longer holds true, and it is only by an increase in the country’s population that current property values may be secured.

Immigration may very well serve as the solution to this, as even by renting out these properties, surplus will no longer risk forcing property prices downwards.
Economic issues aside, there is a moral obligation to help others.

Malta, being the closest EU nation to Africa has a duty, if not to accommodate, to provide safe passage for immigrants. It is time the EU nations got together and put pressure on those western nations responsible for exporting war and poverty to Africa and the Middle-East to accept their share of migrants, as it is their actions and their bombs that force the people of oppressed nations to migrate.

This article was issued by Cosmo McNamara, intern at Calamatta Cuschieri. For more information visit, www.cc.com.mt. The information, view and opinions provided in this article is being provided solely for educational and informational purposes and should not be construed as investment advice, advice concerning particular investments or investment decisions, or tax or legal advice. Calamatta Cuschieri Investment Services Ltd has not verified and consequently neither warrants the accuracy nor the veracity of any information, views or opinions appearing on this website.

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