The best international development policy would be to let in more workers from the third world in to work in Britain, according to a new paper from the Adam Smith Institute. Politicians should stop trying to save entire countries with foreign aid programmes and instead help their inhabitants by letting them move to developed countries, it says. The report Migration and Development argues that doling out billions in foreign aid risks propping up corrupt kleptocratic governments and having little impact on development; letting people move to where they can be most productive is a reform that really works.
The paper, authored by Swedish policy analyst Fredrik Segerfeldt, suggests an immigration target, modelled on the 0.7% of GDP foreign aid target, in order to boost the welfare of the global poor.
Not only would this help the migrants themselves, but it would even help their source countries to develop, Segerfeldt says. Migrants send around three times as much home in remittances as governments send in foreign aid, and this private development aid is far better targeted, going directly to those in need and not through flawed institutions. The money is often used by developing country citizens to educate themselves and raise their human capital, helping to create a virtuous development cycle.
To assuage worries that migrants will empty the state’s coffers as a fiscal burden on the state, Segerfeldt advocates both that migrant work permits be temporary, and that the full suite of benefits would only be available to natives.
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