Economy & Politics

Cross-border workers earn more than they cost the state

Statec took out its calculator: in the end, public finances collect more social contributions and income taxes than they pay aid to the 200,700 workers from France, Belgium or Germany.

Patrick JACQUEMOT

Patrick JACQUEMOT

Statec took out its calculator: in the end, public finances collect more social contributions and income taxes than they pay aid to the 200,700 workers from France, Belgium or Germany.

The need for border workers in Luxembourg is a reality. Thus, the number of Belgians, French or Germans recruited in the Grand Duchy continues to increase. Plus 4.3% each year between 2015 and 2019, even calculated the Statec. But the statistical agency also engaged in a small exercise of interesting calculation on what could bring and cost to the State these foreigners working here, living elsewhere but having certain rights and aids granted by the Luxembourg public finances. In the end, the balance is far from being negative for the country.


Leute Menschen Arbeiten Gewerkschaft zusammen verschieden viele various (Shutterstock)

Luxembourg residents constitute only 26% of the working population in the Grand Duchy. Rather “white collar”, they are “over-represented in the most remunerative sectors”, indicates the latest study by Statec.


Because thanks to their work, and to some 10.32 billion euros in salaries that they perceive private companies established in Luxembourg (2019 figure), cross-border workers are also sources of wealth. Income tax deducted directly from the payrolls of these 200,700 employees, for example, reported last year nearly 1.03 billion euros. A revenue that increases to 2.28 billion euros for social contributions collected.

And even if the Statec study does not take this into account, it would also be necessary to take into account the income due to the collection of VAT on products purchased by these same cross-border commuters (and this beyond the sole excise taxes collected on tobacco or fuel sales). Next year, the 2021 Luxembourg budget is counting on the share of cross-border workers (and international drivers) to garner 77 of the 140 million euros that the new CO2 tax should bring. A “ green tax ” which will come into operation on January 1, 2021.

So, yes, blue and white collars from France, Belgium and Germany are participating in the public prize pool. But these cross-border workers also cost. Less than they report, however, to the state coffers, details the Statec. The balance leaning in favor of national finances for about +154 million euros, still according to 2019 data.

For Statec, the social benefits from which these workers benefit would weigh for 2.61 billion euros. To be put in parallel with the 3.31 billion in revenue related to income tax and social contributions levied. The sum of the benefits divided between the payment of pensions (for 1.1 billion) and the granting of other benefits (1.51 billion).

And even if we add the student grants also attributable to the children of cross-border workers (26.7 million euros last year), the account remains favorable to the finances on which Pierre Gramegna watches.


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