Immigrants a possible boon to host economies, IMF says

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WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) said immigration could help boost economic growth in host countries and called for the swift integration of new workers to help surmount political tensions.

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The remarks, contained in a new study, coincides with strong anti-immigrant sentiment in Western countries as a global refugee crisis reaches proportions not seen since the Second World War.

“Migration may stir social tensions and provoke a political backlash in recipient economies, but past experience suggests it may also offer gains in terms of higher growth, productivity, and relief from population aging,” the report said.

A single percentage point rise in the share of migrants among a host country’s adult population can in the longer-term result in a 2 percent gain in per capita GDP, the report said.

It called for the quick integration of new arrivals into labor markets, as well as access to schools and support for migrant businesses, to reduce the strains and social pressures that can come with absorbing new migrant populations.

“Refugees require special attention. A key issue is reducing the time asylum seekers must wait before they are allowed to work,” the report said.

According to the IMF, unease over migration also helped drive British voters this year to choose to secede from the European Union.

And in the United States, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has called for the creation of a wall along the US-Mexico border as a means of controlling inward-bound migration.

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