The impact of migration on the economy – in terms of general income, productivity and wellbeing as well as the earnings of the majority – is generally found to be positive (e.g. D’Amuri and Peri, 2014; Docquier et al., 2014; Foged and Peri, 2013; Ortega and Verdugo, 2014). This is thought to be due to migrants not substituting the jobs of the majority, but complementing them and even pushing them into better jobs (Card, 2012). As migrants initially lack the required networks, resources and other forms of host-country human capital such as language skills they would not compete directly with the majority (Chiswick, 2009).
Whereas this optimistic picture of migration can very well hold for the aggregate, different commentators have argued that it obscures the dire state of being of traditional working class white communities exposed to greater diversity and the acute competition for resources in places which ‘have been left behind’. While migrants may not directly compete with the majority, established minorities and migrants may be substantially affected through competition as well (Ottaviano and Peri, 2012; Pedace, 2006).