Irregular Immigration in the European Union

30 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2016

See all articles by Pia M. Orrenius

Pia M. Orrenius

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Madeline Zavodny

University of North Florida; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Agnes Scott College

Date Written: 2016-01-01

Abstract

Unauthorized immigration is on the rise again in the EU. Although precise estimates are hard to come by, proximity to nations in turmoil and the promise of a better life have drawn hundreds of thousands of irregular migrants to the EU in 2014-2015. Further complicating the ongoing challenge is the confounding flow of humanitarian migrants, who are fleeing not for a job but for their lives. Those who flee for better economic conditions are irregular migrants, not humanitarian migrants, but the lines between the two are often blurred. This policy brief surveys the state of irregular immigration to the EU and draws on lessons from the U.S. experience. It focuses on economic aspects of unauthorized immigration. There are economic benefits to receiving countries as well as to unauthorized migrants themselves, but those benefits require that migrants are able to access the labor market and that prices and wages are flexible. Meanwhile, mitigating fiscal costs requires limiting access to public assistance programs for newcomers. Successfully addressing irregular migration is likely to require considerable coordination and cost-sharing among EU member states.

Keywords: Irregular migration, European Union, migration policy, refugees, asylum seekers

JEL Classification: J15, J31, J61

Suggested Citation

Orrenius, Pia M. and Zavodny, Madeline, Irregular Immigration in the European Union (2016-01-01). FRB of Dallas Working Paper No. 1603, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2736160 or http://dx.doi.org/10.24149/wp1603

Pia M. Orrenius (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas ( email )

PO Box 655906
Dallas, TX 75265-5906
United States
214-922-5747 (Phone)
214-922-5194 (Fax)

Madeline Zavodny

University of North Florida ( email )

4567 St. Johns Bluff Road, South
Jacksonville, FL 32224-2645
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Agnes Scott College ( email )

United States

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