Immigration's Impact and Opportunity

| 5 December 2016, 13:56

Migration has become a flashpoint for debate in many countries. But McKinsey Global Institute research finds that it generates significant economic benefits—and more effective integration of immigrants could increase those benefits.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, migration is a key feature of increasingly interconnected world, but flashpoint for debate in many countries, which underscores the importance of understanding the patterns of global migration and the economic impact that is created when people move across the world’s borders. 

“Refugees might be the face of migration in the media, but 90 percent of the world’s 247 million migrants have moved across borders voluntarily, usually for economic reasons which is typically gradual, placing less stress on logistics and on the social fabric of destination countries than refugee flows” the McKinsey Global Institute reports. 

Most voluntary migrants are working-age adults, a characteristic that helps raise the share of the population that is economically active in destination countries.

By contrast, the remaining 10 percent are refugees and asylum seekers who have fled to another country to escape conflict and persecution. 

Roughly half of the world’s 24 million refugees are in the Middle East and North Africa, reflecting the dominant pattern of flight to a neighboring country. But the recent surge of arrivals in Europe has focused the developed world’s attention on this issue. 

Most migration still involves people moving to neighboring countries or to countries in the same part of the world.

About half of all migrants globally have moved from developing to developed countries which is the fastest-growing type of movement. Almost two-thirds of the world’s migrants reside in developed countries, where they often fill key occupational shortages. From 2000 to 2014, immigrants contributed 40 to 80 percent of labor-force growth in major destination countries.