Determinants of Immigration

Generally, people decide on immigrating to countries that have greater resources, are technologically advanced and can offer more opportunities. In few cases, some individuals may move to a foreign country so that their children can have a better life. According to Ambrosek (2008), immigration can be defined as the influx of people in a country in search of better resources and escape from threats due to hostile neighbors and natural disasters. However, the practice has raised much controversy highlighting several ethical issues, especially whether people should be allowed to migrate freely. Earnest attention has been given to the impact of immigration on native labor force. The aim of this paper is to address positive and negative impacts of immigration on the economic status of the host country.


The critics of nation’s immigration policies argue that immigrants threaten national security, take native’s jobs and change the nation’s culture by not assimilating (Ambrosek, 2008). According to Borjas (1994), immigration has a negative impact on the host country economy and should be strictly regulated. This is due to the substitution between native workers and immigrants where the two categories of workers tend to have similar skills and suitability for jobs. Therefore, an increase in the number of immigrants leads to a reduction in available wages for the natives. Furthermore, wages offered to the native workers decrease prompting some natives to abandon their jobs. As a result of this, there is a decline in employment level in the host country. In another point of view, opponents argue that immigrants are criminals as well as economic and social burden to tax paying, law-abiding natives. It leads to some illegal issues such as identity and document fraud, street gangs, disdain for the rule of law, education costs and staggering welfare.

On the contrary, proponents of immigration argue that immigration benefits the host country economy by expansion of low cost labor, additional tax revenue, and money in circulation increment. Immigrants take jobs that natives dislike, brings ethical values, have motivations that are consistent with the host country dream. Chiswick (2007) argues that the immigrants and the natives may be able to complement each other during production. For instance, the country may have a comparative advantage agricultural practice in situations where the immigrants have low skills compared with the native labor force. The natives are, therefore, able to specialize due to the availability of immigrants, and this increases the host country’s productivity. This raises the native wages which further provides an incentive for the natives to enter the labor market.


In conclusion, I believe that immigration will always impact differently on the host countries depending on their population and economic status. Based on the utilitarian ethics theory, governments should, therefore, consider a specific situation and know whether allowing immigrants will be beneficial of detrimental to the majority natives. In most developing countries, unemployment rates are high the population is large, and they lack the capacity to sustain their own population. In such countries, an influx due to high level of migration may lead to collapse of the already strained economy.

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