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The positive effects of migration

Migration affects all countries and individuals in an age of intensified globalization. It is entwined with geopolitics, business and social interchanges, and offers prospects for countries, industries and society to vastly profit from. Even though migration is portrayed more and more as something negative we will show in this article that migration can have positive effects for the country of origin, migrants and their families as well as the destination country.

· Gains for migrants and their families

The first obvious gain is that migrants may earn much higher incomes abroad than what they could earn doing similar jobs at home. The rise in migrants’ incomes can also steer significant developments in the wellbeing and human development of migrants’ families, either because they can join their family members in the destination country, or through remittances sent to them in the country of origin. Notably however, the positive impact of migration for migrants and their families go further than pecuniary effects and often comprise advances in additional features of human development, such as education and health. For instance, a 2016 report by the World Bank mentioned that, “migrants from the poorest countries, on average, experienced a 15-fold increase in income, a doubling of school enrolment rates, and a 16-fold reduction in child mortality after moving to a developed country”.

· Gains for countries of origin

Additionally, to profiting individual migrants and their families, migration has also broader positive effects for migrants’ countries of origin. Emigration can diminish unemployment, influence poverty reduction, and lead to wider economic and social progress in countries of origin in diverse ways. For instance, the remittances sent by migrants to their countries of origin provide substantial financial capital flows and a rather permanent source of revenue. Another consequence of migration can also be the transfer of skills, knowledge and technology, that might have significant positive influences on efficiency and economic development. Outside these economic effects, emigration can also create valuable societal outcomes for countries of origin, comprising poor and fragile countries. For instance, it is more and more established that migrants can play a noteworthy part in post-conflict reconstruction and recovery.

· Gains for destination countries

There is a general consensus according to which migration can also engender benefits for destination countries, including economic benefits. Primarily, immigration adds up workers to the economy, consequently boosting the gross domestic product (GDP) of the destination country but there is a collection of different ways in which migrants can have positive consequences on work efficiency and GDP per capita. For example, if migrants are higher skilled than local workers or if immigration has positive results on innovation. Moreover, migrants are frequently more prone to be risk takers, and this trait has influenced many destination countries in areas such as technology, science, the arts and a variety of other disciplines. Further to increasing the State’s earnings and average living standards in destination countries, immigration can have a positive outcome on the labour market by increasing labour stocks in areas and professions experiencing a lack of workforce, as well as helping to tackle disparities in the job market and the issue of fast ageing countries. The particular type and magnitude of these benefits at a certain moment are decisively contingent on the level to which the skills of migrants are complementary to those of the local workforce, as well as on the features of the economy of the destination country.

Author: Dr Fanny Tittel-Mosser

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