EU migrant crisis: Mass migration will last decades, World Bank warns developed countries

Chris Papadopoullos
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World Bank president Jim Yong Kim (Source: Getty)

Get used to dealing with high levels of immigration for your own good, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have told developed nations today.

Large-scale migration from poor countries to richer ones, such as that being seen between the Middle East and Africa and Europe, will become a permanent feature of the global economy for decades to come, they said in a blunt new report.

The world is undergoing a major population shift that, while posing challenges, offers a path to ending extreme poverty and improving shared prosperity if the right policies are put in place, they said. The report argues that young migrants will help advanced economies grow and help keep the state coffers in good shape as populations age.

"With the right set of policies, this era of demographic change can be an engine of economic growth," said World Bank president Jim Yong Kim.

"If countries with aging populations can create a path for refugees and migrants to participate in the economy, everyone benefits, Most of the evidence suggests that migrants will work hard and contribute more in taxes than they consume in social services."

Mass migration has run into political barriers with home secretary Theresa May yesterday claiming it had “close to zero” economic benefits, while Romania, Hungary and Slovakia were recently forced to take part in an EU-wide objective to relocate 120,000 refugees from Greece and Italy, despite strong political opposition at home.

"The demographic developments analyzed in the report will pose fundamental challenges for policy-makers across the world in the years ahead," said IMF managing director Christine Lagarde.

"Whether it be the implications of steadily ageing populations, the actions needed to benefit from a demographic dividend, the handling of migration flows – these issues will be at the centre of national policy debates and of the international dialogue on how best to cooperate in handling these pressures."

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