April 28, 2015

The impact of migration on sending and receiving countries

The focus in the West is always on how immigration impacts the destination location and local workers, but how does it affect the sender countries?

According to the World Bank, in 2013 247 million people migrated while in 2015 this number is estimated to rise to 250 million. Anti-immigration sentiment is on the rise, and while the impact on destination countries in North America and Western Europe is constantly debated in the media, the economic impact also weighs heavily upon sender nations.

One element of immigration that is seen to benefit the sending country is the payment of remittances, the sending of money back home. These large transfers of money, from the prosperous developed world to the poorer developing world, are often viewed as key to the latter’s economic development.

IZA World of Labor author Professor Klaus F. Zimmermann writes in his article about the negative impact of restricting labor mobility that migrants establishing themselves in another country can create a “brain-drain” in the sending country.

However, he continues to write that “in reality, migration is typically temporary.” Research has shown that workers migrate, find employment, and then move on or return home which discredits the myth that immigrants are flooding into western nations to settle permanently. This temporary migration has a positive effect on the sending nations as the returning workers are more highly-skilled and experienced, able to boost their home economy due to the skills learned abroad.

Further evidence has proven that migrants rarely take native workers’ jobs, and they boost employment effects in the long term. In her paper on the impact of immigrant labor on native workers, Amelie F. Constant says that migrants often “accept jobs that natives don’t want or can’t do [and] they create new jobs by increasing production, engaging in self-employment, and easing upward job mobility for native workers.”

Read more here.