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Low relative deprivation

In many developing countries, local people often do not have access to formal employment, decent housing or social protection. At the same time, the absence of a comprehensive welfare state in many developing countries lowers economic and social discrepancies between foreign-born and local-born populations and makes integration less central.

One significant example is related to informality. Despite the rise in the number of multinational companies in the South, the few high-quality jobs that have been created are often filled through international recruiting (OECD, 2009b). The lack of formal job creation by the private sector means that it has a smaller role to play in the integration of new workers than it normally has in the North. The high prevalence of informality in the South (over 50%) implies that job insecurity affects individuals, whether they are immigrants or not.

One consequence of this lack of formal jobs is that the absence of a welfare state affects equally both immigrants and local workers: when economic shocks hit the country, both suffer from the lack of a social safety net. For instance, as China has little social safety net to speak of, there is little resentment of the many Vietnamese immigrants entering the country using public services.14

Differentiating between regular and irregular immigrants, even on basic civil rights, may thus be largely futile in the South. Indeed, immigrants are disproportionately represented in the informal sector (Amin, 2010; De Vreyer et al., 2009 for examples in West Africa), because of the type of channels they use to enter the country, the sectors they work in, and the low administrative capacity of the destination country properly to register them. Because the informal sector helps them blend into society, authorities often have little capacity to count and manage their inflow. In many countries, identification cards do not even exist for the locally born, let alone immigrants, although change is under way in several countries.15

What, therefore, is regarded as a lack of integration in the North is the normal condition of most citizens in the South.16

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