The Cost of One Illegal Migrant Versus Education for a Hundred

Migrants in the Refugee Transfer Center in Sid, Serbia in 2016 (Photo: / Max Malkus)

The Migration Research Institute in Hungary (MRI) wants Europe to require migrants to seek asylum outside the gates of Europe. Of migrants trying to enter Western Europe through Hungary, 95 percent are illegal immigrants. That’s according to years of research by the MRI in Budapest, said senior analyst and spokesman Mark Vargha on the cost of illegal migrants. “We have to help only the real refugees, otherwise it is unaffordable.”

Only five percent of all immigrants who travel through the Balkans to Western Europe are genuine refugees who have a chance of obtaining refugee status, the MRI says. “Once an illegal immigrant arrives in Europe, it is prohibitively expensive to send him or her back to his or her home country,” observes the senior analyst. “In Denmark, for example, it costs 13,000 euros to send an illegal refugee back to his own country. With the high risk that in a few months he or she will arrive illegally in Denmark or another European country again. For the same money, you can save many more real people in need in other ways,” he says.

He calculates: “Helping a child in Africa by offering a year of free education costs: 100 euros. You can give as many as 130 children in Africa a year’s education for the money the European Union spends on this one illegal immigrant.”

Mark Vargha thinks Europe can do much better and help many more people, with less money. “We should prevent illegal migrants from entering the EU, because it costs too much money to screen them here and usually send them back.” He believes the EU now often acts inhumanely. “Illegal and legal migrants enter our continent with criminal people smugglers; that is dangerous for the migrant himself and for the EU.” The institute would therefore like to offer an alternative. “Every asylum application should take place in the immigrant’s safe neighboring country. At the embassies a kind of transition zone can be established, where it is immediately examined whether someone is a genuine refugee or an illegal migrant.”

With this solution, only the status holders enter Europe and the EU does not have to pay for returning illegal immigrants. This way, they also do not have to litigate for years in a foreign country where they do not feel at home.

“A more humane solution, because you have to want to help the real refugee, in their neighboring country. So they can return home after the war to rebuild their country,” Vargha says. “That’s what Croats and Serbs did after they returned from their neighboring Hungary, where they fled to during the Yugoslav Civil War (1991-1999). And currently Hungary is taking in refugees from neighboring Ukraine so they can return home after the war with Russia. But the border with the Balkans is closed to immigrants, because they are not from our neighboring country.”

With this solution, according to the institute, you waste less money on illegal refugees, with which you can help many more real refugees in total.

“This is why we need to start protecting Europe’s borders better against illegal refugees,” the senior analyst believes. “Hungary was the first country to do that and everyone reacted with shock and anger. Now almost all European border countries have put fences on their borders. Now that is quite normal.”

The MRI expects an even greater influx of illegal immigrants in the future.

“Africa and Asia is struggling with over-population. If only 1 percent of them want to come to Europe, we are talking about billions of people. Europe can’t handle that at all. And then everyone agrees with the ideas Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is now proclaiming about immigration. That is why Orbán often says, “I am not right, but I will be right in the future,” concludes Mr. Vargha.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *