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Should countries accept more migrants than they currently do? | CJ Ekanayake

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Today, it is a widespread trend that people move from one country to another. There are many reasons behind the increased interest in inter-country migration. They could be for education, employment opportunities, business, criminal and fraudulent activities, political and religious reasons or looking for better living standards. Migration can be planned or involuntary, although the actual cause could be both. Most people leave their home country for employment, family reunion or marriage (UNFPA, 2006).

Then, should the countries accept more migrants to their countries than they currently do? It depends on the circumstances in the country. They should consider the advantages and disadvantages; from that, they should consider increasing or decreasing the number of migrants. In my opinion, governments should increase their numbers because there are many reasons to do so. This essay’s primary focus will be on the most essential immigration benefits, such as contributing to the economy and labour market, acting as an asylum, and supporting education. The main points are based on the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries statistics.

Migration can have positive and negative impacts on the economic and social environment of the host (recipient) country and the original country. When considering the positive influence, contribution to the host country’s economy is significant. Immigrants subsidize the economic development of their host countries in numerous ways, bringing new skills and proficiencies with them and helping to reduce labour shortages (Hunt, 2010). Migration increases the working-age population, then migrants arrive with skills and underwrite to the human capital growth of receiving countries.

This new workforce also contributes to technological progress (OECD, 2014). The recipient country can usually be an industrialized country in Western Europe or the United States. For these countries, immigration offers various benefits, such as getting jobs that people in the host country will not do or cannot do. New migrants often work longer hours for lower salaries, and although it is controversial or sometimes anti-social, the host country gets the benefit. When made to feel welcome within the host society, immigrants can contribute to the range of diversities of that society, which may help with tolerance and understanding. 

Another reason to welcome the migration is that some countries act as asylums for the people who move, seeking protections from different forces within their own countries. This involuntary migration group is usually known as ‘refugees’ who escape the countries hit by war and violence. They are powerless or fear to return to their home countries because of the threats to their safety (UNFPA, 2006). In 2016 OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries registered more than 1.6 million new asylum requirements (OECD, 2017). According to the International Migration Outlook (2017), in 2016, the total number of permanent entries, mainly on humanitarian grounds, increased 7% compared to 2015. 

Shelter to the needy is a positive step on humanitarian grounds appreciated by people-oriented organizations. Certain counties assist the migrants by providing economic assistance like social benefits (dole). This will promote the positive image of the host country and help increase the refugee’s optimistic mindset towards the new environment. 

Education is one of the essential elements of one’s life. When it comes to education, people move to different countries to study and be qualified and then live in the new land. International Migration Outlook (2017) in 2014 estimated that over 3 million international students were registered in a higher education institute in an OECD country. The host country also gains some income from them; for example, if someone moves as a student, he must pay more institutional fee for their education than the domestic students. The U.S.A. colleges and universities have been trying to attract students from abroad mainly for monetary gains. Most public education institutes in these countries, charging two or three times,  lure drawing more international students for this reason (DeSilver, 2015).

There are also numerous disadvantages. Developing countries may suffer brain drain because of the limited resources in educating their students. Once matured, the country’s talent is enticed to a different country. Governments spend a significant amount of their resources training high skilled domestic professionals: When they leave, the country misses qualified professionals internally and the expected contribution to the country. (UNFPA, 2006).

However, a World Bank study states that for 22 of the 33 countries where the data are available, less than 10% of the best-qualified professionals of labour-exporting countries have migrated (UNFPA, 2006). Therefore we can assume all of the educated people do not migrate. The crimes like drug trafficking and people-smuggling and other forms of illegal activities are done in the guise of migration. The practice of irregular or undocumented migration facilitates this.

Because of the unclear residential status, the migrant population with no legally acceptable documentation have to find low-paying, off-the-books and cash only jobs (UNFPA, 2006), leading to various illegal activities. Thus, there is a necessity for better border control practices and a stricter verification system of entry and stay in most countries (OECD, 2017), encouraging people to use legal methods to migrate and stop undocumented movements. 

In conclusion, because of these reasons, countries cannot follow strict migrant controlling formulae. Migration has an essential impact on societies, the economy and labour market, income through the education industry. Helping the refugees will promote the hosting countries’ better image and cordial international relationship. Even though there are a few disadvantages or negative results, countries can overcome them and implement better policies more appealing to the migrants.

CJ Ekanayake  

OECD. (2017). International Migration Outlook 2017. Paris: OECD Publishing. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/migr_outlook-2017-en

DeSilver, D. (2015). Growth from Asia drives a surge in U.S. foreign students. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/06/18/growth-from-asia-drives-surge-in-u-s-foreign-students

OECD. (2014). Migration Policy Debates (Vol. May). Paris: OECD Publishing. Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/migration/OECD MigrationPolicy Debates Numero 2.pdf

Hunt, J. (2010). Skilled Immigrants’ Contribution to Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the U.S. Open for Business: Migrant Entrepreneurship in OECD Countries. Paris: OECD Publishing. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264095830-en

UNFPA. (2006). State of World Population 2006: A Passage to Hope: Women and International Migration. (P. Leidl, Ed.) (2006th ed.). New York: United Nations Population Fund. Retrieved from http://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/sowp06-en.pdf 

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