Migration Is Development: Policies That Work
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Migration Is Development: Policies That Work
June 2013 Meeting
The tenth plenary meeting of the Transatlantic Council on Migration reflected on what the evidence tells us about how international actors can collaborate to can improve the development outcomes of migration. The Council meeting produced several recommendations on where international cooperation is most needed, where it is most viable, and how best to nurture it at the bilateral, regional, or global levels.
The Council Statement details the Council's recommendations for ways to nurture international cooperation.
Individual briefs discussed at the meeting are available here:
What We Know About Migration and Development
International migration has a strong impact on the living standards of vast numbers of individuals, and on the financial stability of developing countries. Yet the policy framework of migration and development remains relatively weak. This policy brief distills findings from a series of policy briefs by a group of international experts on migration and development released in advance of the UN High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in October 2013. The series covers topics such as remittances, circular migration, skilled migration, the recruitment of migrant workers, the demography of migration, and more.
The Impact of Remittances on Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction
Remittances are the most tangible and least controversial link between migration and development. This brief argues that much more can be done by policymakers to maximize the positive impact of remittances by making them less costly and more productive for both the individual and the country of origin. Beyond reducing costs, measures to ensure that the recipients of these funds have access to other financial services would go a long way to boosting development outcomes.
What We Know About Circular Migration and Enhanced Mobility
Despite the skepticism with which some typically regard circular migration, many policymakers and experts in the migration field have come to recognize the benefits that well-managed circulation can bring to destinations, origins, and to migrants themselves. Effective management of circular migration to facilitate development and poverty reduction requires cooperation both within national governments and between origins and destinations. Migration agencies have already begun to open avenues of cooperation between governments, but development agencies in both origin and destination countries must also work together to integrate migration cooperation into their development thinking and actions.
Does Respect for Migrant Rights Contribute to Economic Development?
While the benefits of migration for immigrants are well documented, the question of whether migrant rights enhance economic development in host countries is more complex. Some argue that receiving states face a trade-off with significant development implications: whether to admit fewer migrants with more rights, or larger numbers of migrants with fewer rights. This policy brief examines the evidence behind the claim that rights further development.
Environmental Change and Migration: What Do We Know?
Environmental change is likely to affect global migration flows in a number of ways. Both long-term trends such as increased flooding and the increasing scarcity of resources as well as shorter term trends like severe weather are likely to contribute to displacement and increased migration for individuals already in vulnerable situations. While often viewed as a negative outcome of climate change, planned migration can also serve as a strategy for mitigating its impact. This brief describes a variety of ways in which environmental change may affect migration, current policy responses to climate migration, and provides recommendations for policy planning.
What Do We Know About Skilled Migration and Development?
The migration of skilled workers from developing countries is a persistent trend, which is often thought to have overwhelmingly negative effects on countries of origin. This brief demonstrates how recent research and experience challenge this assumption. It discusses the overlooked benefits of emigration for countries of origin, and challenges the idea that restricting skilled nationals' ability to leave their countries of origin yields benefits. The brief argues that reducing migration flows will not alleviate shortages of skilled workers in developing countries, and that this reduction may actually produce worse developmental outcomes.
Demography and Migration: An Outlook for the 21st Century
Economic and demographic disparities will shape the mobility of labor and skills during the 21st century. Richer societies and some emerging economies are already experiencing rapid population aging, while working-age populations will continue to grow in other emerging economies and in most low-income countries. Despite these trends, many highly developed countries and emerging economies continue to assume that today’s demographic realities will persist. While migration cannot mitigate all of the labor market challenges and economic disparities of the coming years and decades, smart migration, integration, and nondiscrimination policies will have substantial implications.
What We Know About Diasporas and Economic Development
Diasporas can play an important role in the economic development of their countries of origin. Beyond their well-known role as senders of remittances, diasporas can also promote trade and foreign direct investment, create businesses and spur entrepreneurship, and transfer new knowledge and skills. Although some policymakers see their nationals abroad as a loss, they are increasingly realizing that an engaged diaspora can be an asset—or even a counterweight to the emigration of skilled and talented migrants.
What We Know: Regulating the Recruitment of Migrant Workers
Private recruitment agencies orchestrate much of the migration process, from predeparture to return. They provide information, assistance, and even financial support to migrants; facilitate transit to and from the destination; and in some cases employ migrants directly. While recruitment agencies protect migrants, sometimes removing them from abusive workplaces or even organizing repatriation, migrants’ dependence on them for so many services also creates many opportunities for exploitation and abuse. While a consensus is building over the need for agency regulation, disagreements persist over the appropriate form and function of regulation.