Development

How Immigrants Contribute to South Africa's Economy

Published on July 26, 2018

book

Immigrants contribute considerably to South Africa’s economy. In contrast to popular perception, immigration is not associated with a reduction of the employment rate of the native-born population in South Africa, and some groups of immigrants are likely to increase employment opportunities for the native-born. In part due to the high employment rate of the immigrant population itself, immigrants also raise the income per capita in South Africa. In addition, immigrants have a positive impact on the government’s fiscal balance, mostly because they tend to pay more in taxes. Policies focused on immigrant integration and fighting discrimination would further enhance the economic contribution of immigrants in South Africa.

How Immigrants Contribute to South Africa’s Economy is the result of a project carried out by the OECD Development Centre and the International Labour Organization, with support from the European Union. The project aimed to analyse several economic impacts – on the labour market, economic growth, and public finance – of immigration in ten partner countries: Argentina, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa and Thailand. The empirical evidence stems from a combination of quantitative and qualitative analyses of secondary, and in some cases primary, data sources.