Understanding free movement and migration in the European Union
Attitudes on unemployment
The REMINDER Project examined public opinion data from more than 130,000 people around the EU to understand what factors drive concerns about migration and intra-EU mobility.
The researchers found evidence that people tend to form their opinions about the impacts of migration based on how many foreign-born people were receiving benefits, rather than on whether the overall amount of taxes paid by these people was actually less than the amount paid out in benefits.
These findings suggest that citizens’ perceptions depend less on the actual net value of immigrants’ contributions towards the costs of what they receive, and more on the identity of who is receiving. The researchers propose that this means that any group of foreign-born residents with potentially more access to welfare support (which will often mean EU immigrants) may trigger more negative perceptions by the public in that country about their cost to public finances (fiscal impact).