First Brief: Does Respect for Migrants’ Rights Contribute to Economic Development?
WASHINGTON — The past decade has seen significant gains in what we know about the linkages between migration and development, including how international migration advances economic, social and political development. Against this backdrop, governments have been engaged in a multilateral conversation on international cooperation on migration, one that will take another step forward in early October with the UN General Assembly’s 2013 High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development.
In advance of the High-Level Dialogue, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) will publish a series of policy briefs that distill accumulated evidence and experience and offer recommendations for policymakers on eight specific aspects of migration and development. The first brief in the series, issued today, examines the evidence that respect for migrants’ rights, in addition to its intrinsic value, has economic benefits for countries of origin and destination.
The policy brief, by MPI Non-Resident Senior Fellow and Center for Migration Studies Executive Director Don Kerwin, finds that respect for rights in migrant-origin countries can help secure remittances, attract other forms of diaspora investment and effect political and social change. While the evidence is less clear for destination countries, Kerwin concludes: “ Respect for migrant rights in receiving countries increases the socioeconomic well-being of immigrants and, thus, their potential to contribute to the development of sending and receiving communities.”
The High-Level Dialogue on Oct. 3 – 4 will offer governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society the opportunity to advance actions that can lead to greater gains from migration at the global, regional and national levels.
Only once before in its history, in 2006, has the UN General Assembly held a meeting dedicated to international migration. That dialogue led to the creation of a new international forum, the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which has met every year since 2007, with the participation of more than 150 national governments. If this year’s High-Level Dialogue is successful,the 2014 Global Forum will draw renewed energy and sense of direction from it and could open a promising chapter of cooperative policymaking on a force – international migration – that is fundamental to both human and national development.
“The evidence is clear that migration contributes to development and poverty reduction by raising the incomes of migrants’ families so that they can invest in the health and education of their children, and by connecting countries of migrant origin to global networks of knowledge, investment and innovation,” said Kathleen Newland, who directs MPI’s Migrants, Migration and Development program. “International migrants provide a lifeline to their families and communities — and the treasuries of their countries of origin — especially when those countries undergo economic crises, political turmoil or natural disasters. Governments can leverage these benefits, and reduce the human costs of migration, through supportive policies, legal frameworks and cooperation with other countries. They are more likely to be successful if their efforts are grounded in solid evidence of how the connections between migration and development actually work.”
Other policy briefs in MPI’s nine-brief series will be released over the next few weeks. Topics covered will encompass “what we know” about the impact on development of migrants’ remittances, diaspora engagement, the emigration of highly skilled people, recruitment practices, circular migration, demographic change and climate change-induced migration, along with a brief providing an overview of all eight topics.
Read the policy brief issued today here.
For more MPI research on migration and development, go here.
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The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national and international levels. For more on MPI, please visit www.migrationpolicy.org.