As we have seen at various points in history, skilled migrants can have a substantial impact on the host economy through innovation and productivity growth, even when arriving in large numbers. These effects are beyond the direct contribution of the skilled migrants themselves. One important channel of impact is indirect, through the transfer of knowledge from migrant workers to native workers in the host country. However, analysis shows this takes a long time to materialize, and the effects are not obvious.
Migrants’ skills need to complement those of the host economy, host economies need a strong native human capital set that is able to learn from migrant skills, and migrant and host skills need to be sufficiently connected.
Nuria Boot and Reinhilde Veugelers, Bruegel