Benefits to immigrant-receiving countries

This page discusses the benefits to the people (citizens/residents) already living in countries that receive large inflows of immigrants. In other words, it seeks to evaluate immigration from a citizenist perspective.

There are many harms to immigrant-receiving countries that various critics of immigration have pointed out. It is not axiomatically true that the benefits to immigrant-receiving countries outweigh the harms. However, there are some general reasons to expect that this is the case for migration to highly developed countries, which are indeed the target countries for most migrants.

The reasons are of two types:

  • Highly developed countries are more likely to have knowledge-intensive economies. These kinds of economies are more likely to have higher levels of complementarity between labor. The economies can more readily adapt to the new forms of labor (for more, see the counter-arguments at the suppression of wages of natives page).
  • People in developed countries are in a better position to experience the global benefits of open borders and capture a larger share of these locally. For instance, if immigrants provide the labor, capital, and entrepreneurship to set up a new business that caters to a global market, many of the benefits to consumers are global, but some of the benefits of the economic activity are concentrated in the area where the business was set up.

Similarly, migration to highly underdeveloped countries can also be extremely beneficial. For more on this, take a look at Indians in Uganda: economic impact and reception or at Nathan Smith’s blog post poor countries and IQ externalities.

In addition to these, there are a number of other relatively minor but still quite real benefits: