BERLIN (Reuters) - Four in ten German economists believe the record number of migrants coming to the country are a drag on the economy, while only 23 percent view them as beneficial, a poll to be published on Thursday showed.
The other 37 percent were undecided, according to the poll of 220 professors of economics by the Munich-based Ifo institute for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily.
Some 1.1 million migrants entered Germany last year, straining Chancellor Angela Merkel’s right-left coalition government and overwhelming many local authorities.
A majority of the new arrivals are from war-torn countries including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and most lack the German language skills and qualifications needed to find work.
Each unemployed refugee costs Germany 12,000 euros ($13,370) a year, government figures show, and only about 8 percent find work in the year after their arrival.
Studies published in late 2015 by Deutsche Bank and the German Institute for Economic Research predicted that, if they were integrated into the job market, the refugees would benefit the economy
About 45 percent of the economists polled by Ifo said the government should take new debt to pay for the integration of refugees, while 36 percent advocated raising taxes.
The government will spend last year’s entire budget surplus of 12 billion euros on accommodating and integrating the refugees and has ruled out raising taxes to cover the costs.
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Writing by Joseph Nasr; editing by John Stonestreet