Viewpoint: Immigrants Should Do More Than Just Send Money Home

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

By Noah Smith

When designing immigration policy, developed countries such as the U.S. should think not just about how to benefit themselves, but how to spur global development. For example, skilled immigrants and their children often invest in businesses in their ancestral countries, boosting economic growth and transferring technology. Sometimes they also move back. And their success often spurs developing countries to improve their education systems, in anticipation of sending more emigrants abroad. These flows of money, knowledge and people tend to create a win-win for rich and poor countries; the rich country gains skilled workers and investment returns, while the poor country gains capital, technology and opportunities for its people.

Then there are remittances. Immigrants working overseas often send money to their families back home. Given the lower prices in developing countries, these remittances can make a big impact. This type of transfer has grown in recent years.

According to a new report by the World Bank and the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development, remittances are now larger than either foreign direct investment or official development assistance to low- and middle-income countries other than China.

Photo courtesy of AMISOM Public Information.

Source: Bloomberg Opinion (link opens in a new window)

global development, public policy, remittances