How Immigrants Contribute to Developing Countries' Economies

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How Immigrants Contribute to Developing Countries' Economies is the result of a project carried out by the OECD Development Centre and the International Labour Organization, with support from the European Union. The report covers the ten partner countries: Argentina, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa and Thailand. The project, Assessing the Economic Contribution of Labour Migration in Developing Countries as Countries of Destination, aimed to provide empirical evidence – both quantitative and qualitative – on the multiple ways immigrants affect their host countries.

The report shows that labour migration has a relatively limited impact in terms of native-born workers’ labour market outcomes, economic growth and public finance in the ten partner countries. This implies that perceptions of possible negative effects of immigrants are often unjustified. But it also means that most countries of destination do not sufficiently leverage the human capital and expertise that immigrants bring. Public policies can play a key role in enhancing immigrants’ contribution to their host countries’ development.

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OECD Development Centre

Developing countries host more than one-third of international migrants in the world. Most immigrants are migrant workers and are employed either formally or more often informally in their countries of destination. Immigration thus plays a key role in the destination countries’ economic development. A number of low- and middle-income countries, however, lack evidence and awareness of how immigrants can contribute to different segments of the economies and very few have developed and implemented appropriate policy frameworks. A large informal economy associated with weak labour migration management capacities and a lack of active labour market policies prevent many destination countries from making the most of immigration.

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