‘3.4% of the world’s inhabitants are international migrants’, according to the International Migration Report 2017, thus, migration is an intrinsic feature of our ever globalizing world. It is one of the most salient issues plaguing the international community as it has led to various inhumane acts being committed against migrants due to some misunderstandings.
According to the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, Migration is the movement of people from one region to another. Some have argued that international migration leads to a breach of national security and further causes various human rights violations. However, this essay will focus on explaining the benefits of international migration, clearing the various misunderstandings about international migration and explaining the ways to manage it in order to mitigate the problems it generates.
There are various reasons why people migrate from one place to another and these reasons determine the longevity of their stay in receiving country. These reasons include;
• War and political instability
• Search for better living standards
• Lack of Safety and proper security
• Natural disasters
• Lack of adequate social amenities.
• Better educational facilities.
For example, a person who migrates to another country for educational reasons is likely to have a temporary stay in the country as he may return home after completing his course while a person leaving for war or political instability is likely to have a permanent stay in the receiving country.
The most important benefit of the international migrants contribute to their host countries is that they contribute to the labor force of the host countries. An Oxford Economics research study published by the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) concluded that migrant workers had helped maintain an adequate labor supply to fuel the 2004–2008 economic booms. This shows that the international migrant help their host countries develop by providing them with adequate labour supply in their various industries. In the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, migrants make up 90% of the workforce, so these economies would simply collapse without migrants.
However, there is a certain misunderstanding that international migrants come to take away the employment opportunities of the natives. This is not true because the migrants are most likely to take the low skilled jobs which the natives may not be interested in and thereby provide a low skilled workforce for the country. The importance of this low skilled workforce cannot be overemphasized as OECD forecasts show that for some countries like Italy, sectors requiring a low-skilled workforce like home care as well as food preparation and services will continue to grow.
Furthermore, the international migrants also contribute to public finance through taxes. As confirmed by a study carried out by OECD, Migrant households contribute an average €5,000 per year to host countries’ public purses. This means that the migrant to the public finances of the host countries thereby contributing to its development. Also, a study by the Bertelsmann Foundation shows that each migrant in Germany contributed €3,300 in 2012 on average.
They also contribute to the development of the economy by being entrepreneurs and creating their own companies in the host countries. This in turn creates employment for both natives and migrants alike. For instance, in 2 out of 4 of all engineering and technology companies established in the US between 1995 and 2005, there was at least one immigrant key founder. These companies were responsible for generating more than 52 billion dollars’ worth of sales and creating almost half a million jobs as of 2005. Thus, international migration has improved the economy of the United States a great deal as these companies also pay taxes worth millions of dollars to the US government.
Opponents of International migration have vehemently argued that it threatens national security and causes various cases of human rights violations in the host countries. An example of this is the issue of Xenophobia in South Africa where natives killed many migrants for taking up all the jobs and social benefits in South Africa and leaving the natives jobless. These xenophobic attacks left at least 67 people dead and many more injured. The major causes of these attacks are the misunderstandings about international migration. The 2014 Transatlantic Trends survey conducted by the German Marshall Fund showed that misinformation about basic migration facts is a key factor responsible for anti-immigrant sentiment. Therefore, where the people are well informed about the benefits of international migrants to the development of their countries, it will mitigate anti-immigrant sentiments amongst the natives and thus reduce the likelihood of human rights violations against the migrants. For instance, the International Organisation for Migration has launched the Migrants Contribute Campaign to enlighten people on the benefits of migration.
In addition, the host countries must put in place proper policies to manage the influx of the immigrants. Former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan stressed that international migration, supported by the right policies, could be highly beneficial for the development both of countries of origin and destination. This means that where the policies are right, the benefits of international migration can harnessed effectively. Furthermore, according to the UN, the countries that have policies protecting migrants have attracted highly skilled migrants who help in developing their economy.
In conclusion, the issue of international migration is of utmost importance in the world today. However, various misunderstandings concerning the term have led to a breach of national security and human violations in some countries. Despite this, the benefits of international migration cannot be overstated as these migrants contribute to the workforce of their host countries. They also contribute by adding to public finance through taxation and creating companies which further employ both natives and migrants. Common misunderstandings that migrants cause hatred and riot as in the case of Xenophobia can also be stopped by enlightening the people on the importance of international migration. Countries should also develop migration friendly policies to mitigate challenges of international migration.
Ayomide ‘Toba Eribake is a Sports Law enthusiast, and also has interests in Human Rights and ADR. He also loves researching and reading various subjects of interest.