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Costs and Benefits of International Immigration, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 902

Essay

Introduction

International immigration is not a new phenomenon but the pace has increased tremendously due to globalization which has eased geographical constraints between countries and has led to greater mobility of factors of production including human capital. It was not long ago when the migration would be normally from developing to developed countries but now immigration flow has become more diverse due to rising economic status of emerging economies. Economic theories usually give the idea that international immigration is good but it can also impose huge social and economic costs on countries, especially developing economies. Nonetheless, international immigration should be encouraged because the cumulative benefits outweigh the cumulative costs.

Benefits

One of the benefits of international immigration is that it helps increase the probability of human capital being put to their most productive use. This benefits both the sending and the receiving countries because job opportunities for remaining labor as well as income levels increase in the sending countries and the average productivity and income levels increase in the receiving countries. International immigration is especially beneficial for countries where there is shortage of labor, either due to lack of skills among locals or aging population. International immigration is that it promotes overseas investment as well as quick dissemination of technologies. As a result, economic trade increases among countries and the economic gap between developed and developing countries declines. (Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, New Zealand, n.d.).

While brain drain may be serious concern for developing countries, the outcome could also be opposite if the nationals decide to return to their countries and use the experiences and knowledge acquired abroad to start businesses at home (BBC, 2005). We have already been witnessing this trend among Indians and Chinese in America who come to the country for studies and return to their home countries after acquiring some experience in Corporate America.

International immigration also leads to greater cultural diversity and increase the political leverage of the countries which attract international immigration. The diverse population also leads to greater awareness and appreciation for cross-cultural issues. International immigration also promotes global peace because the greater economic ties among nations discourage hawkish foreign policies that may lead to military conflicts.

Costs

While international immigration may increase productivity and average income levels in receiving countries, it also leads to redistribution of wealth in the receiving countries and may especially hurt those with low education and skill levels (Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, New Zealand, n.d.). This is why poor economic climate often leads to nationalist sentiments and calls for tighter immigration policies as we have witnessed in America in recent years. International immigration may also lead to inflation and higher housing costs, especially in bigger cities. This hurts the economic safety net of the low-income groups.

While immigration results in cultural diversity, it may also lead to political tensions among ethnic groups with quite different cultural values. The tensions among different ethnic groups may also increase hate crimes and jeopardize economic progress through protests and mob violence. Sometimes, unemployment rate tends to be high among certain immigrant groups which also leads to greater burden on the social welfare system though unemployment benefits.

Another major cost of international immigration is that it may lead to excessive exploitation of natural resources as well as environmental pollution, especially in developing countries or those with weak environmental laws. The danger also increases due to the fact that bureaucracy and political system is often corrupt in developing countries and law enforcement is weak or almost nonexistent.

While international immigration is usually applauded for more efficient utilization of human capital, it may impose huge economic and social costs on developing countries in the long term through brain drain. The loss of talent to developed countries leaves developing countries with lower quality human capital on the average and widens the economic gap between rich and poor countries (International Organization for Migration, 2005).

One huge social cost of international immigration is the negative impact on the children, many of them in developing countries like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Philippines etc., who grow up without one of the parent. Such children are at higher risk of performing poor in schools, violent behavior, delinquency, and psychological problems. Similarly, children who move with their parents to foreign countries may also have their fair share of issues such as a hostile environment at schools, low academic performance due to language or social isolation, and lack of stability as a result of moving frequently from one place to another (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, 2008).

Conclusion

International immigration will continue to increase due to globalization and while it has both benefits and costs, the consequences are not always shared evenly among nations. In addition, it may also affect different economic and social groups in different manner. Nonetheless, the overall benefits to global community outweigh the costs and it is also essential to life developing countries out of poverty as India and China have been proving.

References

BBC, 2005. Migration is ‘good for everybody’. [Online] Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4117300.stm [Accessed 9 May 2013].

International Organization for Migration, 2005. Costs and Benefits of Migration. [Online]  Available at: http://www.iom.int/jahia/webdav/site/myjahiasite/shared/shared/mainsite/published_docs/books/wmr_sec02.pdf [Accessed 9 May 2013].

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, New Zealand, n.d. [Online] Available at: Benefits and costs of migration [Accessed 9 May 2013].

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, 2008. ESCAP: Benefits but Costs also in International Migration in Asia-Pacific. [Online] Available at: http://www.unescap.org/survey2008/backgrounders/09_international_migration.asp [Accessed 9 May 2013].

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