The impact of mass migration has hit headlines around the world in recent months, but according to the World Bank, the benefits of large-scale immigration could drive forward the global economy in the coming decades.
In a major new report — released to coincide with the start of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s annual meetings, this year taking place in Lima, Peru — the bank argues that the current mass migration happening throughout the world can be a major driver for the global economy in years to come.
The report, titled Development Goals in an Era of Demographic Change argues that the current pattern of mass migration can “reshape economic development for decades and, while posing challenges, offers a path to ending extreme poverty and shared prosperity”
In a statement, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said “With the right set of policies, this era of demographic change can be an engine of economic growth… If countries with ageing populations can create a path for refugees and migrants to participate in the economy, everyone benefits.
“Most of the evidence suggests that migrants will work hard and contribute more in taxes than they consume in social services.”
Last week, in a blog originally published by the Washington Post, Kim discussed his roots as a migrant: “In 1964, I came to the United States from South Korea, then an extremely poor developing country that most experts, including those at the World Bank, had written off as having little hope for economic growth”
He added that there are huge economic benefits, as well as humanitarian ones: “Countries that welcome refugees, and help other countries to productively host them, will be doing the right thing — both for our fellow human beings who are suffering and for the global economy.”
Hundreds of thousands of migrants have fled from the Middle East into Europe in recent months, and scenes of migrants crammed onto trains and walking along motorways trying to find safety are burned into the public consciousness.
There has been much debate about impact these refugees could have on the global economy, as well as national economies. This week, British home secretary Theresa May made a speech at the Conservative party conference that questioned positive economic impact of immigration, saying that mass migration has “close to zero” economic upside.