In the last year or so, those who regularly argue that migration levels somehow harm Australians and the Australian economy achieved much more political traction than usual, leading to all political parties sending various signals suggesting that migration should possibly be scaled back. This has been one factor (amongst four or five others) linked to a dramatic drop in the number of international students now coming to Australia, with flow on negative impacts on export earnings, employment opportunities, tax revenue, labour availability and more.
There have been many studies and much research into the social and economic impacts of migration in a variety of countries, regions and localities. In more recent years, the balance of evidence regarding the net benefits of migrationhad become sufficiently strong that the United Nations Development Program has found that migration, both within and between countries, under the right conditions, “has the potential to increase people’s freedom and improve the lives of millions around the world” and “can enhance human development for the people who move, for destination communities and for those who remain at home.”
Some extra evidence comes in a recent study by labour economist Giovanni Peri from the University of California. California takes in more immigrants than any other state of the USA. It shows that these new workers have not hurt the wages and employment prospects of native Californians, but rather have played “complementary” roles which can provide better outcomes for both groups.
None of this is to say that unlimited levels of migration in all situations and all localities will always produce a better net outcome. But it does reinforce the evidence that, within the right regulatory and social frameworks, there can be net economic and social positives from freer migration flows.
(reposted from Migration Law Matters)