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Migration: A Solution, Not A Problem

By Michele Klein Solomon

It is common knowledge that social, political, economic and environmental challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean push people to migrate.

However, it is less well known that the potential of migration itself can serve to address these same challenges collectively and constructively.

Migration should not be seen as a problem, nor as a simple movement of people: Migration is a powerful force that can drive the development of societies and economies, and Central America, North America and Caribbean is proof of it.

Migration is an accelerator of inclusive growth and sustainable development, enriching societies through human, socio-economic and cultural capacities.

When it comes to economic growth, data shows that in the Latin American and Caribbean region, countries that have received the largest migration flows would increase by 0.10 to 0.25 per cent per year of GDP between 2017 and 2030.

A study in 2020 by the International Monetary Fund supports this prediction, showing that every additional 1% of immigration has the potential to boost GDP growth by 2% in destination countries.

Migrant remittances are a lifeline for their families and communities. According to the World Bank, remittances considerably exceed official development aid, and are at least equal to or more than ODA plus foreign direct investment combined.

For Latin America and the Caribbean, remittances have doubled from USD 73 billion in 2016 to USD 145 billion in 2022.

Migrants drive economic development, filling gaps in labour demand, creating new avenues for business and fostering trade connections between their countries of origin, transit and destination.

They also enrich host economies by bringing diverse skills, facilitating knowledge sharing and helping to reduce trade costs.

The innovative skills that migrants possess and their ability to integrate into local business networks can significantly influence trade dynamics between countries and regions.

The transformative potential of migration stretches beyond the economic sphere. Migrants teach new knowledge and skills to their community, which translates into greater productivity, innovation, and growth. This is crucial when it comes to solutions for large scale issues like climate change.

Although collective action is necessary, individuals can also be agents of change for their communities and societies and can help create opportunities for progress.

Many migrants work in key sectors such as agriculture, health, education, and tourism. All these individuals have the power to exert an immediate, positive impact on their host communities as well as their countries of origin.

The extent to which migrants can contribute to development is directly linked to their ability to access services, integrate into society, and stay connected with their communities of origin.

This is why we must focus our efforts on creating conditions in which migration is a choice rather than a necessity, takes place along safe and regular channels, and acts as a catalyst for development.

Michele Klein-Solomon
Michele Klein-Solomon

International Migrants Day is celebrated every year on 18 December. Let’s use this date to celebrate migration not just as a journey of people, but as a journey towards a prosperous and interconnected world.

Well-managed migration is key to sustainable development, prosperity and progress.

This day is an opportunity to act today, individually and collectively, to build a better tomorrow, using migration as part of the solution.

Michele Klein Solomon is IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean

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