Migration: A driver of economic growth?


In the context of its Mercator Dialogue on Asylum and Migration (MEDAM), CEPS organised an event on the potential productivity gains to be derived from migration. Florence Jaumotte, a senior economist at the IMF, presented her latest research on the longer-term impact of migration on GDP per capita, and hence standards of living, of receiving advanced economies. She argued that both high- and low-skilled migrants can contribute to raising productivity, in part by complementing the existing skill set of the native-born population. These gains from immigration appear to be broadly shared across the population.

Jaumotte’s presentation was followed by a heated discussion on whether these findings also apply to refugee migration. It was pointed out that this crucially depends on their successful integration into European labour markets. CEPS’ latest research* provides some insights into this discussion: On the one hand, active labour market policies appear to be important for the long-run success of refugees in EU labour markets; on the other hand, the labour market conditions that refugees face upon arrival are also associated with their employment outcomes in the longer term. This suggests the need to put in place a smart policy mix of refugee resettlement and integration measures.