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Why allowing in more migrant workers could be Britain’s best international development policy

Businessman

Businessman

Britain can boost international development by allowing more people from poor countries to come here for work, a new report suggests.

The report by Adam Smith Institute shows that by moving from a poor country to a rich one can boost an individual’s income 20-30 times.

With the same skills, Peruvian immigrants for instance earn 3 or 4 times more in a developed country than they do with similar education and skills in Peru.

The report “Migration and Development” argues that while it is hard to bring good institutions to developing countries, bringing their people to good institutions can deliver many of the benefits more reliably.

The Adam Smith Institute is therefore recommending to Britain to adopt an international development policy that allows more workers from the third world to come and work in Britain.

Instead of trying to save entire countries with foreign aid programmes, politicians should help their inhabitants by letting them move to developed countries, the report says.

The report authored by Swedish policy analyst Fredrik Segerfeldt, argues that doling out billions in foreign aid risks propping up corrupt kleptocratic governments and having little impact on development; letting people move to where they can be most productive is a reform that really works.

Allowing migrants from poor countries to come to work in rich countries would help the migrants themselves as well as their source countries to develop, Mr Segerfeldt says.

Migrants send around three times as much home in remittances as governments send in foreign aid, and this private development aid is far better targeted, going directly to those in need and not through flawed institutions. The money is often used by developing country citizens to educate themselves and raise their human capital, helping to create a virtuous development cycle.

”The best way to cut global poverty is to allow more of the world’s poorest people to come and work in Britain,” Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute Sam Bowman says. “With appropriate controls, a guest worker programme similar to the US’s Green Card system could give a huge boost to people from developing countries. There’s a multiplier effect here too: migrant workers send back an enormous amount of money to their home countries – about three times as much money as is sent in official development aid – and this reduces poverty at home, and may even provide investment capital for economic growth. Though people may be concerned about immigration, they also have a desire to reduce global poverty if possible. In this paper we argue that the costs of letting more poor workers in are much lower than commonly believed, and the benefits much greater.”

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