EFFECTS OF IMMIGRATION
Many countries are often affected by the issue of an increase in the number of immigrants from less developed countries. The presence of a vast number of illegal immigrants creates a lot of challenges to the host country, these ranges from the distribution of wages to scrambling for the available job opportunities. In most countries it’s hard to ascertain the exact state of immigration, this is because the number of immigrants often increases every year (Solano-Garcia, (2009). Also, there is a large number of illegal immigrants who possess threat not only to the labor market for the natives but also to the security. According to Eurostat, the number of immigrants in Spain has increased exponentially, in 1990 the number of immigrants was estimated to be 390,000 but by the year 2002, the number had increased to 1,980,000 (Ngai, (2010). Such huge changes are bound huge effects on the host country. Although there are many negative effects of immigration, other sectors of the economy also benefit from the presence of immigrants. Immigrants provide cheap labor especially with the presence of unskilled workforce. Therefore, this paper will detail the effects caused by immigration to the host country.
One of the significant impacts of immigration on the host country is that it affects the distribution of wages among the natives. Therefore the most affected group is the lower or the unskilled section of the workforce. On average a large number of immigrants fall into the category of the unskilled workforce, this causes a surplus in the labor force causing a reduction in wages offered. However, the upper section of the labor force that is not affected by the immigrants’ experiences an increase in salaries (Sprain, & Hughes, (2015). This is because the pressure placed by a large number of immigrants causes most companies to reduce wages paid for the skill set. This causes a lot of effects on the native workers since they can easily be substituted with immigrants having similar skill sets but are willing to work with reduced wages. According to (Yuill, (2014) the native workers can be perfectly substituted with immigrants having a similar set of skills, as long as the immigrants have the necessary education, qualification, and experience it is assumed that they can perfectly execute the roles of the native workers. According to the statistics from the United States city data the values of substitutability of the native workers and the immigrants are small, this implies that the natives can be perfectly substituted by the immigrants (Yuill, (2014). Thus, unskilled native workers are highly affected by the presence of immigrants. Since the immigrants are comfortable with the wages offered compared to the natives, they are considered to be more productive thus contribute a lot to the economy. Therefore they get a faster increase in ranks and wages.
Immigration also causes a lot of wage and employment displacement in host countries; this is because most immigrants tend to concentrate in certain parts of the country instead of equal distribution. This causes an increase in the labor force in certain sections while other sections are not affected by immigration. According to (Greenblatt, (2008) the employment displacement occurs because the immigrants offer cheap and ready labor. Thus, the natives who previously worked in the same category are forced to seek employment within other regions that are not highly affected by immigration.
With an increase in the number of immigrants in a country, the welfare services and social benefits offered to the immigrants also increase. This may cause a huge burden to the host countries if the immigrants are jobless, to add on these most host countries offer generous welfare services and social benefits compared to the immigrant's host countries. A survey conducted by (Jennings, (1995) shows that there is a welfare magnet effect where immigrants move to countries with better social programs. Therefore, countries like United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and northern Europe are often affected by immigration due to their generous social programs. According to (Dustmann, Frattini, & Preston, (2013) weak labor market forces immigrants to use social benefits. Also, the use of these benefits has increased drastically among immigrants. (Dustmann, Frattini, & Preston, (2013) showed that there was an increase in the use of social benefits among the immigrants from 18 percent to 65 percent between the 1980 and 1990 among the aged immigrants.
Although a majority of the immigrants who are old depends a lot on the unemployment benefits, those immigrants who are within the working age limit do not depend on the social benefits compared to the natives. In Denmark, the rate of unemployment among immigrants is higher compared to that of the natives. Therefore, most of the unemployed immigrant will depend on social benefits as their main source of income. A survey conducted showed that 44 percent of the population depends on the social benefits as their primary source of income; this was also found out to be five times higher compared to the percentage of natives depending on the same (Immigration, & Schiff, (2013).
Natives in most countries blame the immigrants on the increase in the rates of insecurity and crime, According to a survey conducted by a poll in the United States, 70 percent of the natives places the blame of insecurity to the immigrants. There is also the association of certain type of crime to a certain group of immigrants; Muslim immigrants are blamed for the increase in the terrorism rates while the Latinos are blamed for the increase in drug-related crimes. This causes the natives to place a lot of pressure on the government to increase border restrictions and tighten rules on immigration. According to (Solano-Garcia, A. (2009) the government of the United States increased the number of funds allocated to border security and deterring illegal immigration. Over the last two decades, the funds allocated for border patrol have been increased by a huge percentage. In 1980 the funds allocated for border patrol was $300 million, however, by the year 2000 the amount had been increased to $1.7 billion, this shows that the government is under a lot of pressure to ensure that it reduces the number of illegal immigrants entering the country. Immigration is, therefore, causing the government of united states to spend a large percentage of its budget to regulate immigration by increasing the number of control agents, officers, and other equipment's used to ensure immigrant don't enter the country. The countries political environment has also been affected by immigration (Ferri, Antonio, Gómez-Plana, & Mart, (2006). A large number of voters are always keen to know how the presidential candidates address the issue of immigrants. This forces many candidates to place strict measures on immigration on their manifestos that can sway the voters to their side, at the end the expenditure on immigrants keep rising after every election.
In terms of public finances, most of the immigrants within the working-age bracket contribute a lot to the economy in terms of the financial input. A study conducted by (Hidalgo, J. (2014) showed that the immigrants who are working contribute more to the economy compared to the amount they spent on social benefits. In terms of taxes, the immigrant remitted $30 billion more than the cost of social benefits they used in 1996. This shows that there the immigrants contribute positively to the economy. However, the immigrants who are aged above 60 years and the unemployed contribute to the economic cost to the host country. According to the studies conducted by (Hidalgo, (2012) a single unemployed immigrant can cost the host country between $38k and $100k in his or her lifetime depending on their level of education. Other costs incurred by the host country due to immigrants include infrastructural impact, allocation of public services such as education, national defense, and health.
According to a CBO study conducted in 2007 in the United States, illegal immigrants create a lot of burden to the United States government compared to native citizens (Brasher, 2014). Providing social services to illegal immigrants causes the government and states to spend a lot. Most of the unauthorized immigrants lack work permits. Therefore it is difficult for them to access any formal work. Catering to this group of immigrants costs the states. The study also found out that the revenues collected from illegal immigrants are minimal compared to the amount they consume through social programs. Most of the illegal immigrants fall into the category of unskilled labor. Also, most of them do not have the necessary academic qualification required for a decent job (Anderson (2012). Therefore, the amount of wages they get reflects the low life they live in and the amount of taxes they remit. This negatively affects the government since it has to cater to the illegal immigrants living within the population.
In terms of education, the cost increases in public schools having immigrant children. Most of the immigrant children have poor language and reading skills. Thus the children require remedial classes and extra tuition. The cost of extra tuition increases the expense used per student in the public school; this burden is passed to the government. According to a study conducted by (Dove, (2010) in 2006, there were 1.8 million illegal children in public schools. These children are educated at an average of $7500 per student annually; this results in the government spending an average of $30 billion on illegal immigrant children.
Illegal immigrants detained in various detention centers and prisons cause the government to spend a lot of revenue in terms of their upkeep. According to CIS, the detention centers hosts thousands of immigrants every year. The cost per bed is very high. Therefore the government has reduced the amount of time an illegal immigrant stays in jail before they are deported back to their country of origin (Ottaviano, & Perri, (2012). Other measures introduced by the government include releasing the illegal immigrants on bond as a way of reducing congestion in the detention centers (Light, (2014). Such measures are necessary for the government to reduce the cost of detaining illegal immigrants. Another challenge caused by illegal immigrants is that they avoid departing, by all means, a survey conducted in 2010 showed that 700,000 illegal immigrants ignored the court orders. This increases the number of illegal immigrants in the country yet a lot of resources have been used to reduce immigration.
Their extended families depend on most of the immigrants working in the United States in their native countries, this, therefore, means that they have to remit money to their countries to support their families. In 2012, the amount of remittance through the formal route was $530 billion, the World Bank also estimates that over half of this amount is remitted through the informal channels (Kimberlin, (2009). This, therefore, shows that more money is removed from the United States circulation by the immigrants. Although the domestic workers are affected by the presence of unskilled workers in their countries, the host countries benefit a lot from the presence of immigrants. Studies conducted by (Dick, (2011) indicate that although there is an earning gap between the native works and the immigrants at the beginning, these gaps reduces with time. Thus, they are in a position to contribute more to the host country as their salary increases. The increase in the immigrants earning contributes to the increase in the economy for the host country as they begin contributing to the tax and reducing the burden brought about by unemployment.
Although the government may be affected by the presence of illegal immigrants, they offer economic benefits to the host country. Employers in host countries benefit a lot as they are offered with cheap labor from illegal immigrants, the employers are also not burdened with paying welfare contributions (Vossen, (2014). Illegal immigrants contribute to a large percentage of the workforce thus contributing to the government revenue and consumer demand. Illegal immigrants also contribute a lot to the economy through income tax returns and contribution to social security. An advantage with immigrants is that most of them fall within the working class bracket. Therefore they fall ill less often (Morrissey, (2013). Therefore, their contribution goes towards catering for the aged population. Apart from receiving cheap labor from immigrants, the government also benefits since most of them return to their country of origin to retire. Thus, the burden of retirement does not fall on the host country. With the presence of people from different ethnic backgrounds, the population learns to be tolerant and accommodate people from other communities (Jost, (2011).
Immigration affects the host country in many ways; there are many negative effects of immigration such as the cost incurred by the government in the process of hosting the immigrants. For the government to reduce these costs, policies and immigration rules should be revised to ensure that the immigrants entering the country are in a position to work and contribute to the economy of the country. The government should also ensure that the immigrants are in a position to benefit from the social programs since they also contribute to the same. To reduce illegal immigrants, the government should work closely with employers to ensure they employ genuine immigrants.
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