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Migrants in the global economy

Despite ongoing discussions over the stereotypical beliefs that some associate with migration, such as taking jobs and shrinking wages, migrants play a crucial role in the global economy. Without them, countries across the globe would struggle to develop, innovate and grow.

Migration is a feature of social and economic life across several countries, but the profile of migrant populations varies considerably. This is mainly due to the variety of sources of migration. Throughout the majority of Europe, citizens are able to enjoy extensive rights to free movement, and managed labour migration plays a crucial role in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Over the past 10 years alone, migrants have accounted for 70% of the increasein the workforce in Europe. Here at Santa Fe, we’re taking a look at the crucial role migrants play in the global economy.

Labour market flexibility

Migration can lead to a more flexible labour market. Migrants are attracted to move to the UK, for example, if they feel that there are relevant job vacancies in particular areas. During the mid-2000s, there was a significant inflow of workers travelling from Eastern European economies, including Poland, helping meet the demand for semi-skilled jobs such as plumbers and builders.

Impact on particular sectors

Another crucial role migrants play in the global economy is higher education. During 2010 and 2011, there were approximately 400,000 students studying in the UK alone. Whilst these students may not appear in long-term migration trends, the short term effects of these are astounding. In November 2014, the most common reason for migration was for formal study, followed by the opportunity to join family.

Improved productivity

Further to the impact on particular sectors, both high and low-skilled migrants improve productivity. Despite what many people believe, the gains migrants yield are not exclusive to high-skilled workers with diverse skills and rich knowledge. Low-skilled migrants also have a noticeable impact on overall productivity, and occupy essential positions for which the native-born population is in short supply. In turn, this enables the native-born population to move to more elaborate occupations.

Migration boosts the working-age population

Migrants are more likely to be of the working age in the mid-20s and 30s, as a large majority of migrants migrate for work or study. It is this particular age group where workers are most flexible and willing to travel overseas to find suitable work. Though migrants may bring dependents, generally net immigration leads to a significant increase in the labour force, a reduced dependency ratio and increase potential output capacity of the economy.

Undeniably, migrants play a crucial role in the global economy. Helping meet critical needs for various skills and labour, destination countries rely on migrants to fill gaps in the labour market, to open up new markets and present new opportunities.

Santa Fe Relocation and the UN Migration Agency, IOM, UK country office are working together to explore an exciting partnership to redefine the perception of migrants and support local integration of migrants. IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society and states that “partnerships with organisations such as Santa Fe Relocation are vital in contributing to addressing today’s humanitarian and development challenges, and is essential to reaching the objectives set by the Sustainable Development Goals.”

If you would like to understand more on how to support employees working overseas, please get in touch with a member of our expert team today.

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