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Professor Alexander Betts talks to the New Scientist

The New Scientist today published a special report on the refugee crisis facing Europe, looking at push and pull factors, the EU response and the potential economic consequences of taking in refugees. They spoke to or cited several Oxford researchers, including Professor Alexander Betts (RSC Director), Dr Mathias Czaika (International Migration Institute), Professor Carlos Vargas-Silva (COMPAS) and Professor Ian Goldin (Director of the Oxford Martin School).

Professor Betts addressed the frequently cited claim giving people asylum will simply stimulate more to come to Europe. He said, “No existing sound research substantiates the political claim that giving people asylum in Europe stimulates more flow… Nearly all refugees want to go home. They don’t sit in refugee camps calculating where they can get the best benefits.”

Regarding the possible economic impact of refugees and migrants, the report cites research by Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva which showed that letting 260,000 immigrants a year into the UK could halve the public debt in 50 years’ time. Professor Goldin said that over a dozen studies have now shown a net positive effect of migrants on the economy. Alexander Betts agreed, stating “Most data shows the economic impact is generally positive”.

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