EFN Asia 2010
Migration and the Wealth of Nations
7-8 October 2010
Movement of people is an undeniable fact. In the globally integrated world of today, characterised by its cross-border communication and trade relations, migration is more important than ever.
Migrants add to economic growth and cultural diversity. Migration leads to creation of wealth for individuals, for destination countries and for home countries. On the other hand, there is a misperception that only outward movement of people is beneficial to home countries, while inward movement of people is detrimental.
Migrants are also exposed to a variety of risks. The poor and low-skilled are particularly susceptible to exploitation.
Macro-economic effects of migration
Annual remittances make up three times foreign aid and more than half the foreign direct investment.
In general, developing countries have younger population, while developed countries are graying. Movement of people help meet the demand for skills and services in the destination countries.
Source countries fear brain drain and loss of valuable work force which should lead to political and economic reform in the source countries.
• Stakeholders in destination and source countries should communicate the net benefits of migration and rectify misperceptions.
• Countries should adopt market oriented policies, relax work permit rules and regulations in order to attract needed skills
• Respect the right to migrate for everyone, relax or remove restrictions.
The freedom to move voluntarily needs to be protected and facilitated. International conventions that protect involuntary migrants should be ratified and enforced.
There should be multilateral and bilateral agreements on migration, through GATS and outside it.
• Rules and guidelines, in both destination and source countries, should be simplified and made transparent, without over-regulation.
• Reduction in transaction costs will switch migration from illegal to legal channels.
• There should be reciprocal recognition of qualifications and accreditation, with freedom to do business with equal rights as residents.
• Unnecessary labour market restrictions should be abolished because an employment contract is a private one between an employer and a prospective employee.
• Easier access to resident permits with permission for re-entry into both home and destination country.
• Governments should not discriminate among migrants on the basis of nationality, class, ethnicity, religion and gender.
• Prior to departure, migrants should have information about host country statutes and practices.
• Assistance should be duly provided by home country diplomatic officials.
• Recruitment agencies should operate in a free, competitive and transparent environment, with proper disclosure and accountability.
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