Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Well-managed immigration can be a windfall for local economies by creating jobs and fueling growth, fostering innovation, and bringing in new revenue. But these benefits are neither automatic nor do they accrue evenly across society. Highly skilled and entrepreneurial migrants tend to flock to vibrant metropolises, financial hubs, or tech clusters, while other regions may struggle to attract and retain native and foreign workers alike.
Meanwhile, increasing mobility has brought new challenges, which are also asymmetrically distributed. Many cities, even those experiencing new dynamism and growth, have to contend with community tensions arising over the allocation of often scarce public resources such as housing, social welfare, and health services, as well as difficult-to-address problems of poverty, residential segregation, and social exclusion.
While cities and regions experience both the positive and negative effects of immigration firsthand, they are typically at arm’s length, at best, from the policy reins that enable and shape these movements. As MPI Co-Founder and Transatlantic Council on Migration Convenor Demetrios G. Papademetriou writes in Migration’s Local Dividends: How Cities and Regions Can Make the Most of Immigration, immigration policies are rarely calibrated to regional, let alone local, needs.
In a new Transatlantic Council Statement resulting from the 11th plenary meeting of the Council, Dr. Papademetriou offers recommendations on how policymakers at all levels can work together to get more out of immigration. Among the principles for better multilevel governance of migration: paying more attention to the needs and concerns of regions and localities with respect to immigration; institutionalizing systems for better national-local cooperation and private-sector involvement; scaling up creative solutions; and creating rapid-response systems for concentrated challenges.