A World Without Immigrants

Forget massive stocks of fresh produce, your MacBook and every other Hollywood film. Immigrants, comprising less than 4% of the world population, have made many, if not most, of our favorite things possible.

From Arianna Huffington to Sundar Pichai, the C-suites of many beloved companies are made up of foreigners, including ours.

Because we live it first-hand, we are firm believers that diversity and inclusion are the driving forces behind innovation. But you don’t need to take our word for it.

Let’s explore the many ways in which migrants make the world a better place and what our societies would look like if everyone closed up their borders.

The impact on host economies

Out of all the billion-dollar startups headquartered in the country, 55% have been completely or partially founded by an immigrant.

As far as Canada is concerned, even counting with the inflow of immigrants (80% of the country’s population growth), the expected worker-to-retiree ratio for 2035 is of 2 to 1, a sharp decrease from the 1971 ratio of 7 to 1.

While the ratio continues to catch up, the immigrant community already in Canada have created 1,100 new Canadian companies, 60,000 new jobs and have filled 24,000 high-skilled vacancies.

In Europe, a study conducted by the French National Center for Investigation (CNRS), migrants have had a positive macroeconomic impact in 15 countries in western Europe between 1985 and 2015. 

For aging countries where death rates outnumber birth rates, growing the economy and revitalizing industries are not the only reasons youth injections are needed.

Retirees tend to be passive citizens, relying on pensions and government aid. It is up to the current workforce to replenishing government funds through taxes. But, what happens when there are more retired individuals than working ones?

For Spain, where the native-born population is in a constant decline and pension funding still represents a major challenge, immigration meant the population was able to increase by 276,186 in 2018.

Overall, immigrants represented a 70% increase in the European workforce and a 47% increase in the American one.

The impact on home countries

As impressive as the migrant economic output is within host countries, the most extraordinary phenomenon of all is the amount of money they are able to send home despite low salaries.

In 2018, migrant workers sent US$529 billion in remittances to low- and middle-income countries, a flow of funds that represented as much as 35% of a given country’s GDP.

This year, remittances are expected to surpass foreign direct investment after nearly a decade outperforming international aid by a threefold.

Depending on how remittances are used at the receiving end, they can help boost education, increase health coverage and promote investment.

A UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) study found that remittance-receiving households increased education spending by 35% in 18 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia and by an average of 53% in Latin America.

Another study conducted at the North South University in Bangladesh found that surveyed remittance-receiving families allocated more than 25% of remittances for education and health.

In Mexico, international remittances are behind 25% of all capital invested in small and micro-enterprises, with regions with higher levels of migration to the United States investing as much as 40%.

If you’re interested, you can explore this topic more in-depth by reading our A Case for Affordable Remittances white paper here.

What is safe to say is that immigrants contribute to societies all over the world, and without them, international organizations would have to come up with at least three times as much aid funding for developing nations while citizens of rich countries would be forced to expand population beyond their economic capacity of personal preference.

The world belongs to everyone for we each have a vital role to play in its development. Let’s stand together and continue growing in the direction of a better quality of life for all.