Consequences of migration

Well-trained and enterprising people more readily make the decision to migrate. The emigration of specialists weakens their home countries. On the other hand, money transferred by emigrants alleviates the poverty at home. Large influxes of asylum seekers confront Western target countries with serious and diverse problems.

Emigration weakens the native countries of the migrants

As a rule, the emigration or expulsion of large numbers of people exacerbates the economic and political problems in their native countries. Young men with a good education account for a disproportionate share of the migrant population because they are most confident about settling down successfully elsewhere.

The World Bank estimates that there are roughly 100 000 university graduates, fully or partly educated in Africa, living and working in Western industrialized countries. The emigration of highly-qualified personnel from Asia may well be many times higher. The former Eastern bloc countries are also seriously affected by the so-called "brain drain": in the last 10 years Bulgaria has lost about 20 per cent of its educated population due to emigration. In Armenia, even 30 to 40 per cent of the population have left the country in the same period.

Successful emigrants encourage others to follow them

Emigration leaves noticeable gaps in the countries of origin. The loss of well-trained and experienced specialists reduces a nation’s chances of building up workable economic structures by its own efforts. People moving to a world with a better infrastructure and higher standard of living soon become used to the new conditions. Only few are prepared to accept the poorer conditions on return to their country of origin later.

The example of successful emigrants encourages others to copy them. By passing on their contacts, they help to cultivate a network that reaches out to ever-widening circles of compatriots.

Migrants help to alleviate the poverty in their native country, at least in the short term

Migrants frequently transfer a considerable part of their income to their families at home. According to UN estimates, these transfers amount to over 20 billion dollars annually. This corresponds to approximately one third of the funds spent by industrialized countries on global development aid. With their money, the emigrants help to alleviate the poverty in their countries of origin in the short term. Private financial contributions improve the purchasing power of the families receiving them but generally have little influence on the development of structures that would facilitate sustainable change.

The expulsion of dissidents has an adverse effect on social development

Flight movements triggered by repression or war, on the other hand, are felt mostly at political and social levels. Opposition movements are nipped in the bud when their leaders are forced to flee by arbitrary arrests, torture or threats against members of their families. In countries where dictatorial conditions prevail and whose populations are terrorized by corrupt structures, only a small circle of people generally has access to land and profitable economic sectors. While the wealth of a few increases excessively, the population as a whole becomes visibly poorer. Those profiting from such political conditions mostly transfer a sizeable share of their assets abroad in order to insure themselves against the unpleasant consequences of political changes.

Poor neighbouring countries bear the heaviest burden

Most migrants and refugees do not have the financial means to travel long distances. They seek a safe haven in another region in their own or in a neighbouring country. The economically weakest countries are therefore most severely affected by migration and refugee problems.

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