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Lack of immigrants risks population decline in rich countries

Labor shortages already threaten economic growth as COVID-19 limits worker mobility

A wall is under construction along the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

TOKYO/NEW YORK -- The COVID-19 pandemic and anti-immigration sentiments in advanced economies have dealt a double blow to the global trend of migration this year. This will increase the risk of a population decrease in these countries, with some observers predicting negative impacts on economies.

On Sept. 27, a Swiss referendum rejected a proposal to end the freedom of movement with the European Union. The right-wing Swiss People's Party had proposed the idea, but many rejected it because they thought it would damage an economy already battered by the pandemic. The party wants to bring back the sovereign right to control immigration, as did Brexit advocates in Britain's 2016 referendum.

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