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Submitted by Manjula on
Thanks Lant! You’ve articulated a compelling case for our engagement here. Thankfully, in the recent past in working with migrant receiving countries on this issue I have found that they have actually been quite welcoming of our engagement. First of all the reality that domestic measures alone will not solve the labour shortages seems to have sunk in more or less, though the current economic times may have pushed this to a backburner temporarily. The question I encounter when I sit down across a Part 1 country representative and discuss immigration is not why more labour mobility, but instead HOW will we make it work? Whether low, mid, high skilled movements – when viewed from the eyes of receiving countries they look something like this: yes we need low skilled workers but how will we know who is really coming? And if we set up a guest worker scheme won’t they all end up overstaying anyway? On mid skills their concerns are that they allowed people with mid skills to enter but now they only drive taxis or are unemployed – so what went wrong? And finally on high skilled movements too, Part 1 countries have concerns – some from their own internal constituencies (professional associations) and others from international actors who frown upon such movements. So when we approached these Part 1 country concerns with a genuine curiosity to understand these concerns fully we were able to get cracking on finding a constructive solution to it – sometimes it was an information gap which was easy to fill, sometimes a coordination gap so we use our convening power and sometimes a straight technical or capacity gap so we built it up – just as we do in so many other areas that the Bank works on. This was nuts and bolts work, and like you said – no other institution is filling these gaps so we just have to! So the bottom-line is that instead of viewing it as “taking on” Part 1 countries when we approach it as “taking up” some of their legitimate concerns we can be really helpful in unlocking these closed markets.