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Immigrants

"Homeward Bond" - New York Times Op-Ed on diaspora bonds

Dilip Ratha's picture

The New York Times published an opinion piece on diaspora bonds over the weekend. In this piece, Ngozi and I highlight the potential for mobilizing diaspora wealth for financing infrastructure investments in Africa and other developing regions.

At a time when donor countries are facing fiscal difficulties, new sources of funding and innovative ways to leverage available donor funding are required for meeting the financing needs in developing countries. Indeed, innovative mechanisms for channeling investments to dynamic developing countries may even provide a way out of weak demand and excess capacity prevailing currently in the developed countries. As highlighted by Justin Lin, "a global push for investment along the line of Keynesian stimulus is the key for a sustained global recovery; however, the stimulus needs to go beyond the traditional Keynesian investment....By far the greatest opportunities for productivity-enhancing investments are in developing countries..." (see here ).

To build or not to build – that is NOT the question

Elina Scheja's picture
Photo: istockphoto.com

Right after the holiday season Greece announced their controversial plan to build a 12 km long wall to stop the flood of illegal immigrants to the EU. The wall will cover only a fraction of the total length of the border and is aimed to be built in the area that is worst affected by illegal border crossings estimated to amount to 350 people every day, making Greece the leading entry point of illegal immigrants to the EU. As provocative as it may sound, in an economy that is suffering from severe difficulties and rampaging unemployment figures, blocking immigrants from entering is becoming one of the priority political actions to moderate fiscal expenses that is visible to the domestic population. Even though opponents have raised loud objections against the project, according to a recent poll 59 percent of the Greeks approved of the plan. And one has to admit it has an intuitive appeal of simplicity and logic: once you close the drain the flow will stop. Yet, as simple as it may sound, this is not how it works.
 

UN Secretary-General’s message on International Migrants Day, December 18, 2010

Dilip Ratha's picture

  U N I T E D   N A T I O N S                   N A T I O N S   U N I E S

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
--
MESSAGE ON INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS DAY
18 December 2010

 

The global economy remains fragile and the effects of multiple crises are still being felt, not least by the world’s 214 million international migrants.

Migration is more likely to benefit all when it is safe and through regular channels.  Yet the opportunities for regular migration have diminished.  Rising unemployment has spurred discrimination.  The politics of polarization are on the rise. 

It is important to recall, particularly in these turbulent times, the fundamental role that migrants play in strengthening the global economy.

Treat them fair

Dilip Ratha's picture


On days like this, I look out of the window and realize a year has gone by. And yet there is this sense of running on the same spot: Yes, we have worked very hard; but has that made a dent on the world?

 Photo: istockphoto.com

For those working on migration issues, the answer isn’t very encouraging. The only good news is that remittances proved to be resilient during the crisis and are on a recovery path. But anti-immigration sentiment has deepened worldwide. In some cases, the sentiment is beginning to take a hurtful tone. What is lost in rhetoric and scapegoats is the fact the majority of migrants is neither criminal nor unwanted. That migrants are human beings and ought to be respected as such has taken a back seat in many countries with strong and democratic institutions.

On this day, the International Migrants Day, it is worth repeating the words of the UN Secretary-General: Together, let us reaffirm the fundamental principle of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.

AML/CFT requirements detrimental to Remittances?

Myth and realities

 Photo: istockphoto.com
Often anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations are said to be a major barrier to the market entry of cross-border remittance services providers and promoting remittance flows through formal channels. It would be naïve to deny it but it would be excessive to generalize it too. 

As to market entry, often the problem seems to be associated with foreign exchange or other laws and regulations. Many countries have foreign exchange regulations that do not allow remittance companies to operate outside banks. This is confirmed by our surveys conducted for an upcoming paper. On the other hand, I have seen no case where remittance companies are not allowed to operate independently from banks because of AML/CFT requirements.

Qatar's winning World Cup bid is a win for migrants

Dilip Ratha's picture

I was in Dubai last week when the news broke about Qatar's World Cup bid. Qatar winning the vote to host World Cup in 2022 will produce significant increases in migration flows from, and remittance flows to, South Asia, East Asia and East and North Africa.
 
Qatar employs just short of 1.5 million migrant workers currently. It is the largest host country for migrants in the world: the share of migrants in the population exceeds 85%, for every adult Qatari national, there are 10+ migrant workers (see Factbook, my earlier blog post). Although it does not report data on remittances to the IMF, newspapers quoting Qatar Central Bank reported outward remittances approaching $7 billion in 2010. The sheer increase in the demand for workers for constructing stadiums and developing infrastructure is expected to result in huge migration flows from South Asia, but also from East Asia (the Philippines, but also China). Outward remittances will rise more than proportionately, first because wages will rise, and second, because the authorities will provide greater scrutiny to recruitment practices and working conditions for migrant workers.

Will the economic recovery increase demand for immigrants in the labor market?

Sonia Plaza's picture

A recent study by PEW Hispanic Center states that immigrants are finding jobs faster during 2010.  According to the report “immigrants in the U.S. have gained 656,000 jobs since the Great Recession ended in June 2009. By comparison, U.S.-born workers lost 1.2 million jobs. The unemployment rate for immigrants fell over the same period to 8.7 percent from 9.3 percent. For American-born workers, the jobless rate rose to 9.7 percent from 9.2 percent.”

Two other labor indicators show a recovery for immigrants workers in the US labor market: 1) an increase in the labor force participation from 68% in the second quarter of 2009 to 68.2% in the second quarter in 2010; 2) an increase in the employment rate from 61.7% to 62.3% during the same period. The study also points out at the greater mobility of immigrants in finding jobs in different states. In a previous podcast we underscored the mobility of hispanic immigrants due to their diaspora connections (see previous post).

Et tu, Sweden?

Elina Scheja's picture
    Photo/Istockphoto.com

Having followed the debate on welfare and economic policy prior to the Swedish parliamentary election, the arguments from both the ruling center-right alliance as well as the left-of-center opposition seemed convincing enough to be considered for the next political leaders of the country. The opinion polls were predicting a tight outcome in slight favor of the ruling coalition. On Sunday the votes were counted and the results surprised everybody: 2010 ended up being a historic election with no clear winners, but only one big setback. Even though the ruling alliance got a renewed mandate as the largest coalition, it failed to get the majority of the seats in the parliament. The leading opposition party, the Social Democrats, preserved its status as the largest party in the country, but thanks to the strong alliance formed by the center-right coalition, it will be unable to take over the country’s political leadership. The real winner of the election, however, was the anti-immigrant ultra-right wing party Sweden Democrats. The party got 5.7 percent of the votes that guarantees it the swing vote in the parliament making both the established party coalitions dependent on their support. Even though all established parties have categorically stated that they will not seek support from the Sweden Democrats, their passive support will be required for any majority decision.

Who am I?

Dilip Ratha's picture

The question of identity lies at the core of the complexity relating to migration. Let's start a conversation on the question, "Who am I?"

Sarah Dadush:

Who am I? Nationality-wise, there is some room for confusion: I was born in Italy, but I am not Italian. I grew up in London, but I am not English. I am French because my mother, who grew up in Morocco, is French, though that mainly happened because her mother is from Algeria. My father is French because he married my mother, but he is from Libya originally. We are Jewish. None of us has ever lived in France. Do I identify with my nationality? Well, my brother and I attended French Lycees in London and in Maryland, and French is my mother tongue. My grandmother and aunt live in France now, and I visit them regularly. That might be the extent of my French-ness. Though I do make an effort to follow political developments in France, I don't participate in local elections, for instance.

Almost a third of Indians, or over 300 million people, are migrants

Sanket Mohapatra's picture
  Photo © Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank

India’s Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has just released the “Migration in India 2007-08” report (June 2010) based on the 64th round of the National Sample Survey (NSS). This nationally representative survey includes 125,578 households (79,091 households in rural areas and 46,487 households in urban areas) which together have 572,254 individuals. The report has many interesting findings on internal and international migration and remittances in India, which you can read in the press release. I have highlighted a few that I found interesting:

Almost a third of Indians, or over 300 million people, are migrants. 28.5 percent of Indians (some 325 million people, out of a population of 1.14 billion in 2008) are migrants, according to the survey. 35 percent of people in urban areas and 26 percent of people in rural areas have moved from their place of usual residence.However, migration in India is largely confined to within the same state. 72 percent of migrant households in urban areas and 78 percent in rural areas have migrated within the same state.


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