Mass immigration is “a must” for many European countries as they face declining and aging populations, a Politico article published Wednesday argues.
The problem many countries face is fewer people are having babies, which immigrants make up for, according to the article.
Germany’s total population would shrink by 14 percent as of 2050 if it stopped accepting immigrants, according to the article. The difference is even more significant in Italy, where the population will increase by 6 million instead of decline by 7 million if the country stopped accepting immigrants.
The United Kingdom’s population is on pace to grow by a quarter by 2050, assuming Brexit won’t change current migration patterns. The country will then have surpassed Germany as the largest European country. The U.K. is currently experiencing the full effects of mass immigration, as one in three babies born in the country has at least one foreign-born parent.
“When immigration is too high, when the pace of change is too fast, it’s impossible to build a cohesive society,” British Prime Minister Theresa May warned during her time as home secretary in 2015. “It’s difficult for schools and hospitals and core infrastructure like housing and transport to cope … Of course, immigrants fill skills shortages and it’s right that we should try to attract the best talent in the world, but not every person coming to Britain right now is a skilled electrician, engineer or doctor.”
One country where the population will increase regardless of immigration is France. The article points out that “policies like subsidized childcare and tax rebates for families with kids” encourages people to have more babies.
Outward migration to richer countries with bigger opportunities are another driving factor behind the population decline in some nations. In Poland, a country that’s shut the door to immigrants, the population will likely decline by more than 10 percent by 2050, the article points out.
Pro-migration politicians in many countries have used the aging population as an argument for more migration. Wolfgang Sobotka, Austria’s interior minister, recently proposed a yearly influx of 50,000 migrants to ensure the future of the country’s social security system. The strategy to be presented in the next few months will work on a “targeted, structured and qualification-oriented system” rather than an open-borders solution.
A key aspect critics point out is that immigration only solves economic problems if the migrants are able to join the workforce.
Out of 400,000 migrants who registered at employment agencies in Germany between December 2015 and November 2016 just 34,000 got a job.
“The employment of refugees is no solution for the skills shortage,” Heinrich Hiesinger, chief executive of industrial group Thyssenkrupp’s, told Reuters in September.
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