23 January 2014

The upside of migration

To improve migration policies, Europe should consider education levels, argued IIASA’s Wolfgang Lutz at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Creative Commons License: Photo courtesy World Economic Forum

Creative Commons License: Photo courtesy World Economic Forum

IIASA research has shown that both the benefits and the cost of migration depend strongly on the education level of the people migrating. Better educated migrants are more able to integrate into the new society, integrate more quickly and more successfully, and contribute more to the economy in their new countries. Immigrants who maintain links with their home countries also bring benefits back home, not just in the form of remittances but also by bringing skills, knowledge, experience, and business connections from their combined experience in both societies.

“This is not really a new insight and it is already reflected in the immigration policies of several countries such as Canada and Australia,” says Lutz, head of IIASA’s World Population Program and founder and director of the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital. “But this central importance of education for successful migration is neglected in the current European discussions of the topic.”

Lutz spoke on the topic today in the open forum, “Immigration – Welcome or Not?” which took place as part of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The session also included Kofi Annan, Chairman, Kofi Annan Foundation, Switzerland and former Secretary-General, United Nations, Peter D. Sutherland, UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Migration and Development; Martin Schulz, President, European Parliament, Brussels; William Lacy Swing, Director-General, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Geneva.

Over the past few days Lutz has also participated in closed sessions related to climate change, aging, and other challenges related to demographic change. 

More information:
IIASA Events: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2014

Video: Immigration: Welcome or Not

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Last edited: 27 January 2014


Wolfgang Lutz

Senior Program Advisor Population and Just Societies Program

Principal Research Scholar Social Cohesion, Health, and Wellbeing Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program

Immigration: Welcome or Not

Visit the World Economic Forum Web site to watch a video of the session.

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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