There's a good chance that migrants will continue to have an increasingly positive influence on state finances. By the time of the economic crisis at the latest, Germany had become a magnet for people seeking employment. According to information from the OECD, Germany took second place in a list, published in 2012, of the most popular countries for immigrants, hot on the heels of the USA. In 2009, Germany was further down the leaderboard, in 8th place.
This meant that new arrivals are becoming better qualified, and, if you want to use Bonin's reasoning, the net gains for the public purse and social security systems are also likely to increase.
There is also positive news from an entrepreneurial perspective. According to the German development bank KfW, every fifth company founded over the past few years was set up by immigrants. "Since they are more likely to pursue self-employment and create jobs in the process, migrants play a key role in Germany's entrepreneurial landscape," commented KfW. The most recent wave of immigration, however, is also linked to the geopolitical situation. The number of people applying for asylum has grown considerably over recent years. Net immigration rose to 437,000 in 2013, reaching its highest level for 20 years.
From an international perspective, the balance in Germany between the taxes received from, and payments made to, immigrants is positive, says author Bonin, even if it's hard to compare countries because welfare systems vary, sometimes considerably. This calculation becomes even more tricky if you include asylum seekers. In the first six months of 2015 alone, the number of applications for asylum in Germany was more than twice that experienced the year before, with 100,755 applications submitted. Around 21,000 of the asylum seekers came from Syria alone.
"From a fiscal, economic perspective, asylum seekers don't represent the ideal immigrant structure. But they don't have to either," suggests Bonin. Asylum focuses on humanitarian reasons, not economic ones. Despite this, asylum seekers are often dragged into the debate, not least "because you can also find economically motivated immigrants in the asylum channel," as Bonin describes.
But fencing off this group of "black sheep" would be near-impossible. The global wealth gap is simply too wide for that. Rich countries will come under increasing pressure. Instead of erecting fences at their borders, as Hungary has now threatened, they need to have a rethink – both socially and from an integration perspective.
Bonin is firmly convinced of this: "These people want to work as well. Their aim isn't to line their pockets with welfare handouts – they're here to secure jobs. It's better to take on a menial job than not work at all."