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Immigrants boost to Swedish export – a new study show

Tuesday, 12 November 2013
Yet another study about the value of immigrants in Sweden to determine their usefulness for the Swedish  business world. It turns out that companies that employ immigrants could benefit  both their exports and that of the country.

Sweden is one of the countries in the developed world where there is massive resistance to skills from abroad especially when it comes to providing employment to them who have non Swedish looking structures, names and background.  This is probably why more and more studies are being carried out to determine if immigrants make sense to the country’s businesses.

So thus, after surveying 12,000 businesses, some sense has been made that employee born abroad working in a company or various organisations in Sweden could be a motor for increased exports. New research shows that the Swedish company's foreign trade will increase by nearly one percent for every foreign-born person hired.

Increased immigration benefits Swedish exports, according to economist Andrew Hatzigeorgiou who recently presented such finding in his doctoral thesis at Lund University.
“If you look at Sweden as a whole, a migration of ten percent would yield up to 4.5 percent higher exports to the immigrants' home countries, a significant number. At the same time, we see that for every foreign-born resident and working in a Swedish manufacturing company will increase exports to their home country of origin by nearly one per cent,” he says according to Swedish media reports.

Andreas Hatzigeorgiou together with Magnus Lodefalk from Örebro University studied 12,000 Swedish manufacturing companies between 1998 and 2007 concerned by more than 170 countries. Exports are examined over time and compared with the employee's origin. Overall, the study covers 600,000 employees, of whom 12 per cent were born overseas. Something that appears to play a major role in trade report Swedish media sources.

“The foreign-born have the knowledge and contacts in foreign markets. Companies that hire foreign-born lower their trade thresholds because they have information on how to take down the sometimes chaotic markets,” says Andreas Hatzigeorgiou.

Employing immigrants especially those who have just come into the country is important but also education is even more important for exporters to benefit.

The reason given is that it increases the ability of foreign-born to spread their knowledge about the company quickly. The interpretation here is that those newcomers have the most impact on exports because their contacts abroad are still fresh. But the key is not how short or long someone has been in Sweden, but that the people retain their networks back in their home countries.

The role of immigrants in boosting International trade

The study "Information, Networks and Trust in the Global Economy - Essays on International Trade and Migration" examines how migration affects firms and countries' exports. Two of the studies have been conducted in collaboration with researchers at Örebro University.

The researchers examined 12,000 Swedish manufacturing companies during the years 1998 to 2007, trade relations with 176 countries. Companies examined have from ten or more employees.

Companies' annual exports compared with the company's employees and their countries of origin, level of education and time in Sweden.

600 000 full-time employees are included in the study. Of those, 12 percent were born outside of Sweden.

Source: Lund business review, Lund University – in Swedish: Invandring smörjer exporten (immigrants lubricate exports) Team

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