Europe: migrants play a key role in development

Caritas International Belgium Europe: migrants play a key role in development

Based on research and field experience in 11 countries of the European Union, the Caritas network has published a series of reports called “Common Home”. These national publications study the different contexts of migration and its impact on the development of the region of residence as well as the origin of migrants. Here you can find the main conclusions!

The “Common Home”[1] reports are digitally available on the website of Caritas Europe and analyse the connections between migration and economy, culture and politics in 11 member states of the European Union. They highlight the opportunities migrants get in their contribution to development, but also the obstacles they encounter. This series of publications also yields recommendations to policy makers and maintains a global approach in the long term.

“The goal of the Common Home publications is to contribute to a more balanced debate on migration and development, based on factual data, to lead to a policy that recognises and enhances the migrants’ contributions to the host community and the community of origin” says Shannon Pfohman, coordinator of the policy office at Caritas Europe.


These publications[2] emphasize the importance of the recognition of different national realities and migration stories in every context. Here are some examples of differences from national reports:

  • In Belgium, the number of emigrants is 8.6 times higher than the number of immigrants.
  • The number of foreign inhabitants in Italy corresponds with the number of Italians living abroad.
  • In Belgium, Germany and Austria, migrants contribute more to the system of social security than what they receive from social benefits.
  • Migrants in the Netherlands have sent up to three times more money to their countries of origin than the official development aid.
  • Numerous migrants play an important political role in their country of origin. This is especially the case for migrants in Portugal, who come from Cape Verde and Brazil.
  • In Belgium and Germany, migrants fill the gap on the job market and counter the ageing population.

An additional comparing analysis of national publications is available in the European “Common Home” publication. This provides a regional overview and integrates the national publications’ conclusions and recommendations.


Caritas asks the European Union and its member states to take into account the recommendations in the 11 “Common Home” publications. These are based on the experiences of Caritas employees who work with migrants and refugees all over the world. “We urge policy makers to invest in solidarity worldwide”, Tom Devriendt, policy officer at Caritas International, concludes.

The MIND project received financial support from the European Union’s programme for development education and awareness raising (DEAR). You can find more information here. This content is Caritas International responsibility and not necessarily the European Union’s.

Caritas International Belgium Europe: migrants play a key role in development


The national “Common Home” publications can be found here.


These publications are part of the MIND project and were carried out in partnership with Caritas organisations from Austria, Bavaria (Germany), Bulgaria, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and with our regional Caritas Europa secretariat.

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