All too often migrants are unfairly portrayed as being a burden
on public finances, and threatening economic prosperity and social
cohesion in host societies. Worryingly, this has led to an increasingly
hostile environment and debate, and has also contributed to the
rise of xenophobia and right-wing extremism.
The reality is in fact quite different and the overwhelming
evidence suggests that migrants are a benefit to society. On the
economic front, the OECD has clearly indicated that, overall, migration
is not a major burden for the public purse.
Migrants fill labour shortages and often carry out low-paid,
dangerous, insecure and difficult jobs shunned by many nationals.
Without them, in certain countries, whole sectors of the economy
would collapse (construction, tourism, agriculture, health care,
home care, etc.). Furthermore, foreign students provide significant
income for higher education which also contributes to host countries’
Migrants also bring solutions to some of the demographic challenges
facing Europe in terms of population decline, particularly of the
labour force, and ageing. Furthermore, they are a source of cultural
enrichment and dialogue through literature, film, art, sports, food
Member States of the Council of Europe are invited to tackle
misconceptions about migrants, in particular those propagated by
certain politicians and the media. They are encouraged to promote
the integration of migrants as a two-way process, in order to maximise
the benefits that migrants can bring. They are also encouraged to ensure
that their labour migration policies reflect market needs, but take
into account that certain types of migration (carried out by asylum
seekers, refugees and people seeking family reunion, for example)
cannot be regulated in the same way.