Immigration stands as a testament to the resilient spirit of humanity that transcend borders. The venturing of people into unknown territories in the hope of new opportunities has transformed society. It has left an enduring impact through time. It has brought people from diverse backgrounds together, shaping vibrant cities driving economies and creating inclusive communities.
Immigration involves the movement of individuals from one country to another. It is driven by a multitude of factors such as economic opportunities, political instability, or seeking refuge.
One of the most major impacts of immigration has been the exchange of cultural diversity such as customs and traditions. The blending of different languages, cuisines, art forms, and celebrations has created vibrant multicultural communities around the world.
Impact of immigration
Companies like Google, eBay, Intel, and Yahoo have been founded by immigrants and make up more than half of the start-ups of Silicon Valley in California.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, immigrants play an important role in improving the productive capacity of an economy, by encouraging investment and assisting specialization. The entire scenario also increased efficiency and boost the income of every worker.
The World Bank also pointed out that developed countries can produce global economic gains of $356 billion with an improvement of 3 percent in migration. The net fiscal effect of immigration also showed that they are effective tax-payers and give more amount of tax than the benefits they receive from the country.
Economists are predicting that if borders were kept open and if workers are allowed, it would offer a gain of almost $39 trillion to the world economy, citing that immigration is good for economies. With more money circulating within the economy, more jobs would be generated. Thus, it would be good for the GDP of a country.
Shaping Societies, Cultures, Economies, and Politics
While impacting the world, Immigration has brought cultural enrichment, economic growth, demographic changes, change in knowledge and skills, social and political dynamics, brain drain and remittances, gave birth to refugees and asylum seekers and other aspects which are mentioned below:
Immigrant communities have led to the infusion of vibrant cultural traditions, music, art, cuisine and language to their new homes. For instance, US’s cultural tapestry is known as the unique blend of diverse backgrounds.
Economic Growth and Innovation:
Immigrants are known as a vital factor for economic growth and innovation in their second home country. While filling the labour gap, they are significant contributors to generating tax revenues and boosting consumer demand. Several ground-breaking countries like Google, Intel and Tesla have been established by immigrants which became efficient sources of job creation as well as technological advancements.
Immigration has revived the numbers of the decline in population in several countries. For instance, Japan faced an ageing society and a declining birth rate. The government then decided to open doors to immigrants to cater for these challenges. The influx of new residents bring potential solutions to demographic imbalances and sustained the economy in the country.
Knowledge and Skills Transfer:
Immigrants bring diverse knowledge, skills, and expertise to their host countries. They often possess specialized knowledge in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as other professions. This transfer of knowledge and skills can enhance the competitiveness and development of the particular country’s industries and educational institutions. It can also lead to the formation of multicultural societies, challenging existing social norms, promoting tolerance and fostering social cohesion.
Transformation of Social and Political Scenario:
Immigration has spurred social and political change, challenging and reshaping prevailing norms. For instance, the Civil Rights Movement in the United States during the mid-20th century underscored the strength of the African-American community’s history of migration from the South to the North, leading to transformative legislation and progress towards racial equality.
Global Connections and Understanding:
Immigration has helped in fostering global connections and cross-cultural understanding in an increasingly interconnected world. It also led in building bridges between nations and cultivating a sense of shared humanity, strengthening the co-existence across the globe.
According to Political Economist John Stuart Mill, “We need to ensure that the local and short-term social costs of immigration do not detract from their role as one of the primary sources of progress.”
The World Migration Report 2022 says that there were around 281 million international migrants in the world in 2020, equalling 3.6 percent of the global population.
Over the past five decades, the number has witnessed an increment as the total estimated 281 million living in a country other than their countries of birth in 2020 was 128 million more than in 1990, and over three times the estimated number in 1970.
Estimates of Global Annual Flow
The increase in the number of countries from 50 to over 200 since the 1900s also underscored the increment in the number of migrants. The estimated global flow of migrants stood at 15 million which is divided into four categories:
- Economic: The number of people seeking financial opportunities in other countries stands at 6 million.
- Students: The official statistics show that 4 million students migrate from their birth countries to others.
- Family: Currently, there are 2 million families residing in other countries due to immigration.
- Refugee/Asylum: Every year, 3 million refugees are reported in different countries. There are approximately 20 million officially recognized refugees worldwide. 86 percent of them are hosted by neighbouring countries, up from 70 per cent ten years ago.