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Iberdrola

Migration, a key factor in the economies of receiving countries

Today's 230 million migrant workers are an important resource for saving the lives of up to one billion hungry people in the world's poorest communities
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AFP/MARCOS MORENO  -   The Royal Navy and the Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie have rescued almost 50 migrants in Atlantic waters

 Immigration is often seen as one of the main sources of social and economic problems that a receiving country may face. But the reality is very different, and the fact is that all this population that arrives in search of an opportunity to improve their lives ends up becoming an advantage for both the receiving country and the country of origin.
 
Today, 230 million workers around the world are a key element in saving the lives of up to one billion people who find themselves in a very precarious situation, living in the poorest communities in the world.
 

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PHOTO/AP - Ethiopian migrants queue as they are counted by smugglers after arriving in the coastal town of Ras al-Ara from Djibouti in Lahj, Yemen.

But it is not only the most disadvantaged people in the receiving country who benefit from the economic activity that migrants generate. The countries of origin, from which thousands of people leave in search of opportunity, also benefit, as much of the money their migrants earn working abroad is sent to family members who remain in their home country, boosting their economies.
 
In fact, remittances from migrant workers amount to more than $600 billion annually, three times more than all global official development assistance, which currently stands at about $180 billion.
 
This trend looks set to continue to evolve in the coming years, and according to the World Bank's latest report on migration and development, remittances are expected to grow in low- and middle-income countries by around 4.2%, increasing the current total to $630 billion annually

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PHOTO/ Max Brugger/Sea Watch vía REUTERS - Migrants are rescued by members of German NGO Sea-Watch during a search and rescue (SAR) operation in the Mediterranean Sea on Christmas Day, 25 December 2021.

One of the strongest stigmas that migrants face when they arrive in a country is the array of criminal activities with which they are associated. But the World Bank study shows that their remittances exceed by six times the profits made by criminal gangs, traffickers or sexual exploiters, estimated at around $100 billion a year. This shows that the economic impact of immigration is positive, and in most cases far removed from criminal activities.

Obviously these remittances are the fruit of the success that many migrants have had in risking their lives, embarking on endless journeys towards opportunity. But not all have suffered the same fate; thousands of people die every year trying to cross that sea or that border that separates them from their dream of a better life. One of these hotspots is the Mediterranean, where hundreds of people are reported or die trying to reach Europe.
 
The causes that force them to risk their lives are most of the time the result of human action, such as armed conflicts, political persecutions or man-made climate disasters, causing extreme droughts, floods...
 
In the Horn of Africa, the situation is so devastating that at least 27,800 people crossed into Yemen trying to reach the more developed countries of the Gulf in the first five months of 2022, more than the total number of people who made the journey in the whole of the previous year. It is worth remembering the conflict currently raging in this country, which thousands of migrants suffer along their routes. 
 
This situation exemplifies the strong need for migrants to leave their countries in search of a better life, which even leads them to cross territories at war, exposing them to the dangers that such a situation can bring.

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AFP / OIM (Organización Internacional para las Migraciones) - Survivors of the shipwreck off the coast of Mauritania on 4 December 2019.

Another hotspot is the Mediterranean, which is dominated by criminal organisations that send those seeking to reach Europe in boats so precarious that most of the time they perish during the journey. UN High Commissioner for Refugees figures show a sharp rise in the number of people killed or missing since 2020, reaching approximately 3,231 last year.
 
Migrants do not take work away from anyone, they merely perform those tasks that the men and women of the country they arrive in do not want to carry out. 
 
Migrants are not the cause of the problem, but just another victim, desperately looking for a solution to the difficulties of their lives and embarking on endless journeys towards a dream. 
 
But this dream is often cut short by the interests of criminal gangs that traffic them, or by governments that decide to turn their backs on them when, once inside their country, and as recent studies have shown, in most cases these immigrants become another driving force for economic development, both in the receiving country and in the country of origin.