An image of the report. Credit: ILO-OCSE
An image of the report. Credit: ILO-OCSE

According to a recent report released by the OECD and ILO, immigrants play a positive role in the economies of developing countries, which need to implement policies to maximize the economic impact of immigration.

A new report drafted by the Development Centre of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) said that developing countries, which host over one-third of international migrants, need to do more to maximize the economic impact of immigration. 

The document, called ''How immigrants contribute to developing countries' economies'', states that ''negative perceptions are often unjustified''. It points out that immigrants are ''no burden on the economies of host countries, and that in developing countries, their impact on labor markets, economic growth and public finance is generally positive although relatively limited''. 

The role played by migrants in the economies of 10 countries 

Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, the study analyzed how the presence of immigrants affected ten economies: Argentina, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa and Thailand. The research highlighted that the majority of these countries showed ''higher labor force participation and employment rates than native-born workers''. 

However, it said, the ''quality of jobs immigrants take remains a concern as they often experience decent work deficits''. ''The estimated contribution of immigrants to gross domestic product (GDP) ranges from about one percent Ghana to 19 percent in Cote d'Ivoire, with an average of 7 percent across the ten countries studied'', the organizations said. 

''The contribution of immigrants to value added exceeds their population share in employment in five countries: Cote d'Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal and Rwanda. In countries where this is not the case, differences are small. Overall, immigration is unlikely to depress GDP per capita''. 

The report showed that immigrants ''help increase overall public revenues''. ''However, the increase may not be always sufficient to offset the public expenditures they generate. This is the case in two countries, Kyrgyzstan and Nepal, where the deficit is less than one percent of the GDP. 

In the other countries studied, the net direct fiscal impact of immigrants is positive but below one percent of the GDP. Overall, immigrants' net fiscal contribution tends to be positive but limited''. 

Five policy priorities 

The organization outlined five policy priorities that can help increase the role played by immigrants in the economy of their destination country: adapting migration policies to labor market needs; leveraging the impact of immigration on the economy; protecting migrants' rights and fighting against discrimination; investing in the integration of immigrants; better monitoring the economic impact of immigration.

''Any country can maximize the positive impact of immigration by adopting coherent policies aimed to better manage and integrate immigrants so that they can legally invest in and contribute to the economy where they work and live, while staying safe and living fulfilling lives'', said Manuela Tomei, ILO's Director of Conditions of Work and Employment Program.

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