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Migration occurs when there is a movement of people from one country to another. This is caused by factors such as economic pressures, social networks and connections, immigration control policies and cultural perceptions among others.
In my own assessment, the most important cause of migration flows is economic pressures. Mostly, when economic pressures are high, people move from countries where there high unemployment rates to where there are better prospects for employment.
When they migrate, these people anticipate better wages and higher standards of living than the one for their countries of origin.
There are two theories that can be used to explain the economic reasons for immigration from one country to another. These theories are microeconomic rational choice theory and new economic theory of migration.
The microeconomic rational choice theory explains that people make rational choices about the benefits that they are likely to obtain by migrating.
The other theory, the new economic perspective theory, argues that the decision to either migrate or not is made at the individual level, but rather at the household or even at the community level.
Another theory that can be used to explain the economic reasons of migration flows is the macro-economic /structural theory. This theory explains that there exist economic pressures that drive people from their countries of origin to other countries.
These economic pressures include lack of jobs, over population, and surplus labor. For this reason, people will be drawn to those countries that have many employment opportunities.
It has also been adduced that due to the popularity of the goods produced by the first world countries, the industries in the third world countries are adversely affected. For this reason, the employment prospects in those countries diminish considerably.
Immigration policy is another determinant of migration flows among countries. There are two types of policies that a government might adopt regarding migration. These are restrictive immigration policy and open immigration policy.
For this reason, if a country has an open immigration policy, it is likely to attract a lot of migrants compared to the country which practices a restrictive immigration policy.
A country with a restrictive immigration policy will put in place a lot of controls that act as a barrier to those who may wish to migrate to that country.
Migration flows are highly responsive to the immigration polices that are enacted by the various governments. For this reason, if a government feels that it has a very large number of foreigners, it might decide to counter this by putting in place a restrictive immigration policy.
This can be achieved by enacting tighter rules to discourage immigration. On the other hand, if a country is in need of more labor force for its local industries than what the citizens can supply, it could encourage immigration by enacting an open immigration policy.
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This could be in the form of reduced paperwork for people wishing to travel to such a country.
From the discussion above, it is clear that economic reasons and immigration policies are very important determinants of international migration flows. They provide the drive that motivates people to move from their home country.
Immigration policies, on the other hand, facilitate or impede the movement of people from one country to another. The immigrants may move to look for better lives or to run away from harsh conditions in their home countries.