Friday, July 04, 2008

The economic approach of New Immigration policy in Europe (I)

Although Latin America Immigrants are not a key variable of the problem,(8 million of illegal immigrant in Europe),it has been quite a shock for policy makers in Latin America, the new immigration policy framework, set by European authorities mostly concerned to both North African, and eastern Europeans illegal flows. However, Latin America immigrants in Europe represent a good source of foreign income through remittances, which in some Andean countries might be meaningful .
History teach us, the value added by immigrants to the land they arrive. Latin America itself is a continent made of immigrants(Germans, Japanese, Italians, French, Portuguese, Koreans ,Jews and others ethnical groups, were a constant flow from Europe to Latin America since the eighteen (in some cases even before) up to the twenty century). The economics to justify for such immigrants flow was clear, the expected economic benefit on their new land, were much higher than the cost involved to settle them down . Much of them, helped to create and consolidate new countries. Somehow, Latin America benefited from European nations ,as much as those immigrants improved its fragile initial human capital endowment .
However, even with those additional better qualified human resources ,and quite on the opposite to others successful immigration experiences, wrong domestic policy design in the twenty century, lead to higher poverty (40% of Population) and inequality (the worst income distribution in the world),in Latin America, such that migration to different places out of the continent,could be considered a natural consequence of such failures.
Thus, the first issue to be addressed, is that such a migration represent the failure of domestic policies. It is not efficient to design domestic policies, with such an “implicit guarantee” that if something goes wrong, there are plenty of “volunteers countries ” to cope with the failure, instead of the domestic policy designers, who would get a free ride. Both, Moral hazard and free ride , would lead to endless flows of immigrants to host countries.
A second implication would be that Latin America would become a poverty exporter continent . In such a case, the real cost of immigrants for host countries , is much higher than the expected benefit.
It is not the best qualified resource who seek new opportunities, which creates the problem ,but those who heavily depend on social policies, which turns out to be competitors with local citizens needs ,which feel they are left behind in time of trouble. A different matter, is the implementation of the reform, which no matter the timing, should also take into account humanitarian criteria when it applied.