An Outstanding Positioning of Migrants and Nationals: The Case of Luxembourg


The economic integration of foreigners and their impact on the economic and public finances of the destination country are the subject of numerous debates and research projects. Our aim is to investigate the contribution of foreigners to public finances in Luxembourg. The intention is to find out whether migrants and nationals consume more in benefits than they contribute to public finances and the social security system, or whether they in fact contribute more than they consume. We present a quite unusual situation, where a small nation-state has incorporated not only the most important share of foreigners, but also an extremely performing immigration. Luxembourg has a longstanding tradition of attracting highly qualified foreigners and of transnational economic leaders since the end of 19th century. Currently, the share of highly qualified foreigners became more important than the share of highly qualified nationals. And more so, these highly qualified foreigners have higher educational levels than their national counterparts. Given an overwhelming majority of transnational economic leaders (70 to 80 percent) and a significant majority of extremely well educated foreigners, the traditional question of integration and assimilation might have become obsolete or reversed. In terms of the Chicago school or the model of Esser (2004), we will demonstrate that these foreigners position themselves on top of the national elite. A result of their quantitative and qualitative impact might be a reversal of the traditional assimilation model: transnationals and not nationals provide perhaps the reference model for assimilation.