ONE MILLION MIGRANTS PER YEAR
Europe is absorbing about a million migrants a year. The latest data reveals that in the last four years 2.3 million migrants legally applied for asylum in the EU and a further 2.2 million were in the region illegally. Of the total 685,000 have been forced back to their home countries.(1)
MISUNDERSTANDING BEGINS WITH MEDIA REPORTS (AS USUAL)
The misunderstanding of the migrant crisis is encouraged by the way discussions in the mass media refer to the people coming to the EU as “refugees” or “asylum seekers". In fact the United Nations itself has said that seven out of 10 people crossing the Mediterranean from Libya are economic migrants. This means that only a minority of migrants are people in need of protection like refugees and asylum-seekers.(2) The figures for migrants in Italy are even clearer. Only 2.65 % of migrants (about 10,000 people) who arrived in the last four years were granted asylum as genuine refugees(3) The term "refugee" is preferred because is naturally evokes sympathy.
IF THESE MIGRANTS ARRIVED IN AUSTRALIA WHAT WOULD WE THINK?
To understand the impact of these migrants we need to look at what a similar situation would look like here. Italy, with a population of around 60,000,000, has had a total 410,000 arrive from the beginning of 2013 to July 2017. This means their intake of migrants now constitutes 0.68% of the population. If Australia, with a population of around 24,000,000, had the same percentage of migrants arriving in boats from South East Asia, we would have seen 163,200 arrive in that same period. Remember that Australians went into panic mode when in 2013, boat arrivals brought 25,000 people to our shores. In fact Italy had about 22,000 migrants arrive in 2013, but their numbers have doubled every year since then.
Over Easter weekend 2017 a record 8,000 migrants were rescued and brought to Italy.
THE HIDDEN COST OF MIGRANTS TO THE EU
It is not clear exactly how many genuine refugees have been accepted by Australia in recent years. According to one document, it seems that from 2012 through 2016 Australia actually accepted only 30,515 refugees.(4) However another document shows that in this period Australia accepted 65,068 in its humanitarian program visa grants program.(5) The government recognizes that these people require support as explained here:
Humanitarian migrants will find it much harder to find employment and may come with a burden of trauma and illness. For this reason, humanitarian migrants need much greater levels of support than other migrants. Fiscal questions are also involved, since humanitarian migrants are immediately (and rightly) eligible for government benefits like Newstart and services like Medicare.(6)
A single person on Newstart can receive $535.60 per fortnight, or about $17.000 per year. In Italy, when registered, all migrants receive a monthly income of 900 euros per month. Since 900 euro is worth A$1342, so this means that the receive about A$16000 per year. This looks like the same system used in Australia, however this sum is paid to all migrants, whether they are genuine refugees or not. This means that in 2017 the Italian government will spend 4.2 billion euros,or A$6.3 billion Australian dollars, for migrants. This is slightly less than one half the amount (A$10.4 billion) projected in the 2016-17 Federal Budget for Job Seeker income support.(7)
WHY THE RESENTMENT AGAINST MIGRANTS? FOLLOW THE MONEY!
Just like Australia, countries like Italy in the EU live with enforced “austerity” budgets. This means that billions of euro are spent on migrants while services to the citizens of these countries are cut just as they are here. It is not hard to understand that the resentment against these migrants is not just about skin colour or religious traditions. Taxes paid by citizens of the EU is being generously given by the governments of EU countries to millions of people who have appeared from nowhere.(8) And there is another feature of these payments which would produce anger in the EU. Italian police earn 1200 euro per month. (1200 euro = A$1790) Naval volunteers who rescue the migrants receives a stipend of 900 euros a month. This means that the level of support they receive, unlike our Newstart, is not that different from what people are paid for normal jobs. Can you imagine that being tolerated in Australia? Surely this is strange in these days of Neo-Liberal austerity!
MIGRANT EXPERIENCE IN GERMANY
Germany is probably the strongest supporter of the massive intake of migrants to the EU. They have accepted 1.5 million in the last four years. With a total population of 89 million people, they have accepted what amounts to 1.8% of their population.
Germany wanted to boost its workforce of ageing factory workers. They are the oldest in Europe and by 2025 German factories will face over 2 million vacancies. A more cynical observer might also suspect that by bringing in more workers the large German corporations would be able to drive down wages as well. So far the Germans have not had much success finding workers. It seems that only 45 per cent of Syrian migrants in Germany have a school-leaving certificate. The employment rate among migrants stands at just 17% from over one million arrivals. In just one year, migrants not finding work jumped by 50 per cent. Further, statistics show that only 6,500 migrants are enrolled in work training programmes out of nearly 500,000 unemployed. Their experience shows that many migrants are either not educated enough or can’t speak the various languages of the EU, so they end up unemployed.(9)
MIGRANT EXPERIENCE IN SWEDEN
In 2015, at the height of the migrant crisis, Sweden took in more migrants per capita than any other European country. Sweden accepted 352,000 migrants between 2012 and 2016. Their population was 9.8 million, so their intake amounted to 3.5% of their population.
In June 2016, Sweden toughened the rules for migrants seeking asylum, limiting who can receive permanent residency, and making it more difficult for parents to reunite with their children. Prior to that Sweden introduced border checks with its neighbours for the first time in 20 years, requiring police to monitor trains and ferries and turn back those who don’t have valid travel documents.
Recently a secret report was leaked in June 2017 called "Sweden on the brink of legal crisis". The report has revealed that the number of lawless areas (commonly referred to as, “no-go zones”) in Sweden have now reached 61, rising from 55 in just one year. This increase includes, not only the total number, but also the geographical size of these areas. These are areas women and even police themselves can no longer freely walk around.(10)
The situation is critical because it is said the migrants do not come to assimilate into Western Culture, but to change the West to their world. Sweden’s National Police Commissioner, Dan Eliasson, warned that Swedish police forces can no longer uphold the law. The migrants are so disrespectful that if the free money is cut off, Sweden can quickly find itself in the midst of total chaos. When the police come out and ask for help, you know something is seriously wrong.(11)
The exact meaning of this sign is ambiguous without a full understanding of the social context. Since many Muslims follow the principles of Shariah law, it could be relatively harmless. Do the posters of the sign intend to enforce the "law"? How exactly? Is it for Muslims and non-Muslims alike?
IN JULY 2017 AUSTRIA CLOSES ITS BORDERS TO MIGRANTS
Austria was originally a supporter of the EU migration, but they have now completely changed their policy. Austria has moved four armoured vehicles to the Italian border and has 750 soldiers primed to stop migrants from crossing into the country. Austria is also likely to set up controls at the busy Alpine Brenner Pass in the south of the country 'very soon' to tackle the migrant influx. The planned controls will include the key trade pass, a move that Italy warned last year would break EU rules on free movement.(12)
SEVERAL CENTRAL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES REFUSE TO TAKE ANY MIGRANTS
In Poland, Prime Minister Beata Szydło said her country would not be blackmailed by European Union officials. She considered that the forced migration policy of the EU is an attack on Europe, on our culture, on our traditions. Poland has a quota of 6,182 migrants, not one of whom has been admitted.
In the Czech Republic, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that given the deteriorating security situation in Europe and the non-functioning of the quota system, the Czech government will not participate in it. The Czech Republic has a quota of 2,691 migrants, of whom only 12 have been taken. In Slovakia, Prime Minister Robert Fico said that mass migration and forced multiculturalism would change the essence of his country. Fico added that 95% of so-called refugees were actually economic migrants.
In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has warned of the "explosive consequences" of a culture clash between Europe and migrants from the Muslim world. Hungary has a quota of 1,294, none of whom have been admitted.
The European Union has initiated legal action against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for failing to comply with a controversial order to take in thousands of migrants. Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said that agreeing to European Union quotas would "certainly be worse" than any punishment meted out by Brussels.(13)
REPORTS ON ITALY
ACCORDING TO A UNHCR REPORT FOR 2016:
4,808 migrants, 2.65% of those who arrived in Italy in 2016, were granted asylum as genuine refugees. This leads some politicians to say that 95% of so-called refugees were actually economic migrants. 90,334 of the migrants in 2016 did not request asylum but disappeared into the black market economy. Of the 91,902 who applied for asylum, 54,252 had their requests rejected unconditionally. 18,979 were given 'humanitarian protection' status. 12,873 were given 'subsidiary protection'.(14)
HOW MANY MIGRANTS HAVE BEEN ENTERING ITALY SINCE 2013?
2013 Italy had 22,118 migrants.
2014 Italy had 66,066 migrants.
2015 Italy had 103,792 migrants.
2016 Italy had 176,554 migrants. (UNHCR records 181,436 migrants into Italy in 2016.)
By June 2017 Italy had over 60,000 migrants, 48% more than the same period in 2016, when there were 40,000.
By July Italy had over 80,000 migrants.
Total migrants to Italy has been 410,503 in four and half years. (2013- july 2017)
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THEY ARRIVE IN ITALY?
When registered migrants receive a monthly income of 900 euros per month. (900 euro = A$1342)
900 euros go to the Italians who house the refugees.
600 euros are needed to cover insurance costs. (600 euro = A$895)
Every immigrant costs to Italy 2,400 euros a month. (2400 euro = A$3580)
Italian police earn 1200 euro per month. (1200 euro = A$1790)
Naval volunteers who rescue the migrants receives a stipend of 900 euros a month.
WHAT DOES THIS COST ITALY?
In 2015 the Italian government spent 2.6 billion euros for migrants.
In 2016 the Italian government spent 3.3 billion euros for migrants.
In 2017 the Italian government will spend 1.9 billion euros for pensions.
In 2017 the Italian government will spend 4.2 billion euros for migrants.
ARE THERE ANY INVESTIGATONS INTO THE WAY MIGRANTS ENTER ITALY?
There is an investigation into the possibility that subjects linked to ISIS act as logistical support to migration flows".
There are now Italian judges investigating the connection between the migrants' smugglers in North Africa and the Italian NGOs rescuing them in the Mediterranean. It seems people-smugglers bring the migrants to the NGOs' ships, which then reach Italian seaports.
There is also a legal enquiry has been opened about the mafia's economic interests in managing the migrants after their arrival.(15)
7. http://www.budget.gov.au/2016-17/content/bp1/download/bp1_bs5.pdf p. 5-12)
8. Povera Italia: un immigrato costa il doppio di un agente