Which countries benefit from immigration?

economy : Developing countries benefit from migrants

Berlin - Migration also has its good points. "Emigration is always only the second-best solution," says Uri Dadush. After all, everyone would prefer to stay in their homeland, with their family, if they could. But, adds the French economist in the service of the World Bank: "Migration can make a significant contribution to increasing the prosperity of emigrants and their families, and even more: Both the countries of origin and the countries of destination benefit from it." At least that is it Result of the World Bank report on the prospects for the world economy 2006, which was presented on Friday in Berlin - and for the first time is dedicated to migration and its economic consequences for developing countries.

The result surprised the economists themselves, says Dadush: The total amount that migrants send to their families in their home countries from the wages of their work is expected to rise to 167 billion dollars (around 143 billion euros) this year. The sum has doubled in the past five years and exceeds the total of all development aid money by more than twice. It would reduce poverty considerably and strengthen economic growth. From an economic point of view, these payments are therefore of hardly overestimating importance. Especially when it is taken into account that another 80 billion dollars will reach the families who stayed at home in unofficial ways. "This is by far the largest, most reliable and most stable inflow of money that developing countries have ever known," says Dadush.

In absolute numbers, it is primarily the emerging economies with large populations of China ($ 22 billion in 2004), India ($ 21 billion) and Mexico ($ 18 billion) that benefit from remittances from emigrants. In particularly poor, particularly small countries, however, in states such as Tonga, Moldova and Lesotho, this money makes up a quarter, in some cases even more than a third of the gross domestic product (GDP). Incidentally, Germany ranks eighth worldwide in terms of remittances: German emigrants are expected to send home 6.5 billion dollars this year.

What are the positive effects of migration? Dadush enumerates: A poor person who emigrates “is one less poor from the perspective of the developing country”. If things go well, he will take on a job in the low-wage sector in the target country that no local person wants to do. He will spend his money here - and also send it to his family, who will invest or consume it at home. At the same time, Dadush warns against turning a blind eye to the negative effects: Migration is an important aid, but by no means a substitute for real development. The less shiny downside of the migration medal is the “brain drain” that goes hand in hand with the emigration of highly qualified workers. The appeal of the World Bankers is twofold: the developing countries should invest more in research and science in order to create job opportunities for the highly qualified. And in order to exploit the positive potential of migration (economists expect global income growth of 0.6 percent in 2025, equal to 356 billion euros, due to migration alone), industrialized countries should develop a policy that clearly regulates immigration, allows better access to the labor market and lowers the high transfer costs for remittances.

Now new: We give you 4 weeks of Tagesspiegel Plus! To home page