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Immigration is characterized as the transfer of people from their home countries to host countries in order to settle and live. People leave their home countries for a variety of reasons. Any of the causes include seeking decent job prospects, seeking economic stability, family reunions, exile, escaping bigotry, and seeking higher living standards. Many nations have recently seen internal tensions and civil unrest, which has been one of the main sources of immigration. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and drought have now been significant contributors to the immigration problem. It is very clear that people move from their countries due a wide variety of reasons some of which are genuine while others are not. Immigration can either be legal or illegal depending on how it occurs. For immigration to be legal, it has to abide by the immigration laws and policies of the host countries. The immigrants must be able to acquire visas and identification documents that allow them to legally stay in the host country (Anderson and Blinder). On the other hand, if immigration is conducted in a way that violates the immigration laws and policies of the host country, then it becomes illegal immigration.
Immigration has become a global issue with many countries experiencing the influx of large numbers of people as immigrants. For example, the International Organization for Migration has estimated the number of people migrating from their countries to the host countries to be about 200 million people. The organization has also noted that the most affected parts of the world are Europe, Asia and North America who currently are hosting the largest numbers of immigrants from different parts of the world. Statistics indicates that Europe is a host to about 70 million immigrants whereas North America is a home for about 45 million immigrants and lastly 25 million immigrants are residing in Asia. This is a clear indication that the issue of immigration is now becoming a common thing in most parts of the world.
Immigration has its advantages and disadvantages both to the host countries and the home countries. With regard to the host country, immigration provides some advantages to it. The first advantage immigration has to the host country is the fact that the people are coming in increases the labor force which is a very important thing to any economy. This means that the available job opportunities can be well utilized without leaving the go unexploited. The increased labor force is beneficial to the host countries as it enables the country’s output in terms of production and income generation as a country to increase (Dustmann and Frattini). This has the effect of increasing the living standards of the people within the country as well helping the country to improve its infrastructure which is a vital thing to any country.
Another important advantage of immigration is the fact that the host country acquires technical skills and other important skills from the immigrants. It is crystal clear that as people move from one country to another, they move with whichever skills they possess to the host country. Such skills if discovered and tapped on time, then the host country can enjoy the advantage of utilizing the skills towards the improvement and development of its economy (Okkerse). This is vital especially to those countries that have a shortage in given skills or professionals. For example, if a country has a shortage of doctors or engineers, then the influx of doctors or the professionals in question can be welcomed and seen as a blessing. This is one of the major advantages many countries have derived from the issue of immigration. A good and practical example is the report that was produced by Cato Institute which reported that of all the engineering and technological companies in the United States of America formed between 1995 and 2005; at least one of the main founders was an immigrant. It went ahead to report that about 25% of the patents that were registered in the year 2005, had an immigrant listed as an inventor or a co-inventor. From this, it is very clear that the immigrants have had a very important role to play in the development of the industrial and technological sectors of the host countries.
Immigration also has a very big benefit to the host country as far as taxes are concerned. This may not be well known to most of the people, but the truth is that the immigrants pay taxes as well as for their social security. The amount paid by the immigrants to the host nation helps in increasing the amount of tax collected when put together with what the natives of the country contribute. In fact, in some host countries, the immigrants are exposed to a higher tax rate as compare to the natives meaning the higher the number of immigrants a country has, the higher the amount of tax collected from them. With regard to social security, it is mandatory in most countries for people to pay for their social security. This means that the immigrants are not the exceptional from such policies. How then do the host countries benefit from such funds? Most of the immigrants who pay for their social security may find very hard to claim for their money when the want to return to their home countries. The host countries, therefore, remain with the savings, and this reduces the burden of having to pay the immigrants as part of their social security. If many immigrants decide to forfeit their social security funds as stated above, then the host country gets the advantage of remaining with the unclaimed cash together with the benefits they would have paid the immigrants as part of their social fund.
As many appreciate the advantages immigration has to the host countries, it is also important to note that most of the host countries have encountered massive problems due the issue of immigration. This is has been seen by the recent campaign speeches of one of the America’s Presidential aspirant who went round claiming that immigration had affected the economy and the entire people of the United States of America. As much as immigration may be encouraged, it indeed comes along with problems which if not well taken care of, then the host country can find itself in a very compromising situation.
One of the major problems that come along with immigration is the issue of population pressure and congestion. This comes by when the host country allows many immigrants into the country. With many immigrants coming in, the population increases drastically making it difficult for the authorities to provide and cater it. This leads to a strain on the available resources and social amenities which with time lowers the standards of living of the affected countries. This has been the reason for the coming up of slum areas in most of the host countries as the governments find it hard to provide better housing facilities to the ever growing population as a result of the immigrants.
As noted earlier, immigration has the benefit of improving the income of the host country through taxes. However, in cases where the immigrants in question are unskilled or have very low skills, then the effect reverses. This means that the immigrants may not be able to cater for the taxes they are supposed to pay to the host country in return for the services and benefits they get in return. In such a case then they become a burden to the entire native population who have to subsidize the immigrants’ taxes (Cortes). This becomes a heavy tax burden to the natives as well the governments of the host countries. Many countries, especially in Europe, have been victims of this problem. Most of the immigrants who run to Europe because of natural calamities or civil strife in the home countries have nothing better to give to the host countries and instead expect much of help from the host countries.
Immigration also comes with the problem of unemployment. This is because of the many immigrants who gets into the host countries with the aim of getting better employment opportunities than those in their home countries. Others run away from the problem of unemployment from their home countries and get into the host countries to struggle for the available employment opportunities with the natives (Ottaviano and Peri). A report by the Centre for Immigration Services has indicated that millions of Americans are unemployed while the number of immigrants who are employed has continued to increase drastically. Another worry highlighted by the report the rate at which the immigrants are being hired compared to the Americans. The struggle for the employment opportunities between the natives and the immigrants has also led to a reduction in the wage rate. The wages are now going down, and this affects the living standards of the entire population in the host country. It is also understood that allowing many immigrants to work in the host country reduces the income to the country as most of the immigrants expatriates their income back to their home countries. This means that the home countries benefit much than the host countries in terms of income.
Immigration lately has also been associated with terrorism and radicalism. This has been a concern especially in these times when radicalism and terrorists are on the rise. Allowing people to come into a country as immigrants can put the country’s security at stake. Some of the immigrants might take advantage of the situation to plan for terrorist attacks on the host countries. Some of them also initiate the locals into radicalisms increasing a rate of insecurity to the host country. Most western countries have had this concern and are even regulating the influx of immigrants because of security concerns (Nannestad). They have put their local citizens’ security a priority and are ready to protect it at all costs by ensuring that the number of immigrants who are moving in is regulated. Most of the host countries are also conducting security checks at the borders to ensure that those getting are not in possession of any harmful materials or objects.
Immigration is also associated with social evils and rot in the society. This happens when the immigrants get into the host country and start engaging in illegal activities. Such activities include drug dealing, prostitution and even other criminal activities (Risse). If immigrants are not regulated or apprehended, the can cause a very big problem in the country. They can start inducing the native population to such behaviors something which might put the security of the country as well as the social ethics of the society at stake. Some of the immigrants might also lead to the erosion of the native’s culture something which may not be healthy to the countries diversity and heritage.
With this regard, immigration has caused a mixed reaction in many parts of the world, with some people supporting it while others are vehemently against. In the recent past, some countries have been making policies to try and govern the aspect of immigration. The best example is the United States of America which its new president is now coming up with policies and measures to try and control immigration which to him is causing a lot of problems to the United States. This is a clear indication that many countries are now getting fed up with the high influx of immigrants into their countries. Immigration should not be rebuked the way it is being done right now since it has some good advantages to the host countries. What should be condemned seriously is the issue of illegal immigration which is the most dangerous thing to any given host country.
Anderson, Bridget, and Scott Blinder. "Who counts as a migrant? Definitions and their consequences." Briefing, The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford (2011).
Dustmann, Christian, and Tommaso Frattini. "The fiscal effects of immigration to the UK." The economic journal 124.580 (2014): F593-F643.
Nannestad, Peter. "Immigration and welfare states: A survey of 15 years of research." European Cortes, Patricia. "The effect of low-skilled immigration on US prices: evidence from CPI data." Journal of political Economy 116.3 (2008): 381-422.Journal of Political Economy 23.2 (2007): 512-532.
Okkerse, Liesbet. "How to measure labour market effects of immigration: A review." Journal of Economic Surveys 22.1 (2008): 1-30.
Ottaviano, Gianmarco IP, and Giovanni Peri. The effects of immigration on US wages and rents: A general equilibrium approach. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, 2012.
Risse, Mathias. "On the morality of immigration." Ethics & International Affairs 22.1 (2008): 25-33.
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