OECD survey show immigration is mostly economically neutral


The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released a new survey that shows that immigration has a mostly neutral financial impact for the countries that host it. According to the report, the migration waves in the last 50 years have mostly had a zero impact of the GDP of the host countries, with changes ranging from +0,5% to -0,5% of the GDP per year.

In some countries, such as Switzerland and Luxembourg, immigration has had a notable positive impact (+2% of GDP) but the report says ‘Immigrants are thus neither a burden to the public purse nor are they a panacea for addressing fiscal challenges’.

The study shows that countries that host large waves of immigrants usually experience a moderate increase in their GDP. The immigrants have positive effect on the total GDP of the host countries, but not necessarily of the GDP per capita.

In addition to that, the report concludes that there is no truth in the claims that immigrants are stealing jobs from local people and are taking money from the host country benefit system. In the cases where the fiscal positions of the immigrants are worse than that of the local population this is due to the fact that they tend to earn less money and thus contribute less the host country benefits system, but not because they depend on social benefits.

This means that they contribute to the financing of public infrastructure, although admittedly to a lesser extent than the native-born. The OECD says ‘An increase of 50% in net migration of the foreign-born generates less than one-tenth of a percentage-point variation in productivity growth’.


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