What should Lithuania make of the European Union’s intention to distribute refugees, who are coming in droves to Italy and Greece, among all member states? Economists at the Baltic Investors Forum discussed whether these people could help solve the country's labour force shortage.
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

Journalist and author Ted C. Fishman, who spent some time living in Asia and observed the development of China, says that immigration does not bring in as much economical value in regards to work force as one might expect.

“Immigration is not a solution to the issue of aging society. Oftentimes when you bring in an immigrant, he will bring his parents along,” he said.

According to Mr. Fishman, who is Ametican, even if it may seem that the biggest immigration issues for the US stem from the border with Mexico, that is not the case.

Ted C. Fishman
Ted C. Fishman
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

“When looking at the numbers as opposed to the stream of immigrants, the Chinese are in the lead. The highest number of [immigrants] are Chinese people who are over 50 years old. This is due to the fact that their children, who studied in the US and are now living well, bring in two or four of their parents, who aren’t a part of the social security system and don’t know the language. This is a problem that needs to be looked into,” the journalist professed.

Nobel Prize Laureate Robert J. Shiller who, who came to the conference in Lithuania, reminded that the United States can be considered an example of successful immigration. Some factors that contributed to this is the diversity of ethnicities in the US, i.e., openness to several dozen ethnicities and also the fact that enterprising individuals travelled one by one, and not in groups.

Robert J. Shiller
Robert J. Shiller
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

“When immigrants arrive in [Lithuania], they stay here. They will stay here for hundreds of years, which, in my opinion, encourages conservatism. It is also risky, because you don’t know if they will be able to assimilate,” the Nobel Prize laureate reasoned. “Generally, immigrants are business savvy, and if you want immigration policies, you could encourage immigrants to come individually, instead of a large group of refugees from a single place. It’s not how USA handled immigrants.”

The Baltic Investors Forum, which took place in Vilnius in early June, brought together international leaders of business, society and politics, economical experts, journalists and diplomats.

Could immigration ease Lithuania's labour shortage?
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij
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