*Migration policies should be relaxed to aid the poor*
Barriers to migration should be reduced to enable migrants to play a
positive role in both industrialised and developing countries, says a
leading DFID-funded research group. The findings, produced by the
Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty
(Migration DRC), are published in a research brief launched in advance
of the Global Forum on Migration and Development 2009 and available on
the centre’s website at www.migrationdrc.org here:
The report is a summary of six years of investigation into migration
policy and practice. Established through funding from the UK
Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) in 2003,
the Migration DRC - a partnership of institutions in the UK, South Asia,
the Middle East, West Africa and South Eastern Europe - has developed a
programme of research, capacity-building, training and promotion of
dialogue to underpin new policy approaches to migration and development.
The economic value of migration to poor countries is already
well-established, with migrant workers sending over $300bn to developing
countries, around four times global aid flows. However, the Centre’s
findings indicate that for migration to have its full developmental
impact, the most beneficial policy change would be to reduce barriers to
migration, at all levels and particularly for the poorest.
Yet according to the findings report, policy on migration in developing
countries remains fragmentary, and there is still a lack of consensus on
what pro-poor migration policies should look like in poor countries.
Professor Richard Black, the Centre’s Director, said: “Our research
shows that migration can be seen as part of the solution to problems of
underdevelopment. Instead, most governments still assume that more
development is the solution to problems of migration. In many cases,
migration of poor people helps reduce poverty, improve educational
attainment and increase gender equality. But government policies matter
a great deal in facilitating such positive change by migrants.”
Key findings in the 30-page document, which includes links to core
research and policy briefings produced by Migration DRC, include:
* Poor people are more likely to travel and work within or between poor
countries, yet they are often ignored in international debates about
* Migration, particularly among the young, often stimulates investment
in education, either in the country of origin or destination.
* Where poor people have a greater choice in terms of migration
destinations, the net effect on inequality is more likely to be positive.
* Skilled migration is largely a symptom, not a cause of underdevelopment.
* Policies that support migrant communities can contribute to the
development of their countries of origin; migrants do not need to return
to be effective and sustainable.
The Centre’s work has included the compilation of data on migration
flows, with an emphasis on those previously least well-represented;
analysis of the links between migration, globalisation and poverty and
reviews of emerging migration issues and policies. Field research was
conducted in a number of countries in West Africa, South Asia, the
Middle East and South-East Europe.
This work has resulted in the compilation of a number of robust
databases and user-friendly web resources; the production of more than
40 working papers and 50 refereed journal articles or book chapters; and
new conceptual approaches in areas that include, but are not limited to,
the migration of children and youth; mobility of highly-skilled
professionals; and social protection by and for migrant workers.
*Notes for Editors*
Richard Black (http://www.sussex.ac.uk/geography/profile10641.html) is
director of the Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation
and Poverty and a member of the academic advisory panel for the UN’s
Human Development Report.
He is available for interviews, which can be arranged by emailing
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To find out more about the work of the centre, visit its web page:
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