In many cultures, the term "guest worker" would be an oxymoron. Yet policy makers in both receiving and sending countries seem to like guest worker programs. The hope is that guest workers will fill labor shortage in the receiving countries, and at the end of an employment contract go back home with money and some new skills. There is also a belief that temporary migrants will remit more of their savings back home than migrants who plan to stay on in the destination country (often called the "host country", another oxymoron?).
The Migration and Remittances team of the Development Economics and Prospects Group (DEPG) of the World Bank is organizing an International Conference on Diaspora and Development on July 13-14, 2009 in Washington D.C. You are invited to participate in this conference and join economists, policy makers and other colleagues in the discussions.
The diaspora of developing countries can be a potent force for development for their countries of origin, through remittances, but more importantly, also through promotion of trade, investments, knowledge and technology transfers. The conference aims to consolidate research and evidence on these issues with a view to formulating policies in both sending and receiving countries.
On May 25th, 2009, the European Council adopted the EU Blue Card directive which was initially agreed upon by the European Union’s interior Ministers under the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum in September 2008.
According to the directive, the Blue Card will attract high skilled workers from a third-country into the EU- member states’ labor market and will have a period of validity between one and four years depending on the contract. The directive rules state that EU Blue Card holders will be treated equally with nationals of the member state issuing the Blue Card in certain areas such as working conditions, education, and a number of provisions in national law regarding social security and pensions. The card will also allow the visa holder to bring in family members with him or her in the EU country where the job is located.
While the beneficial impacts of migration and remittances on social welfare have been well documented, we know very little about the effects of migration--mostly by men-- on the local labor market behavior of women. To help address this gap, Mariapia Mendola (of the University of Milan) and I explored the gender aspects of migration and economic development in Albania over the past fifteen years. We decided to examine Albania during this period in greater detail because economic hardship during transition fostered massive migrant outflows, mostly to neighboring Greece and Italy. Also, male migration is an ordinary and widespread phenomenon in Albania.
Using unusually detailed international migration histories from the 2005 Albania Living Standards Measurement Survey, we found that Albanian households with family members (mostly sons and daughters) living abroad are less likely to have women in paid employment. However, male spouses with past migration experience exert a positive influence on female self-employment. The same effect is not seen for men when women migrate. Our findings suggest that over time, male-dominated, shorter-term migration may increase the income-earning opportunities for women at home.
Our working paper based on this research was published last month in the World Bank's Policy Research Working Paper series.
A constant struggle facing researchers and policymakers tackling migration issues is a lack of good data. The Center for Global Development recently released “Five Steps Toward Better Migration Data,” an excellent report on concrete steps governments and non-governmental organizations can take in the short run to fill this gap.
This report is particularly important in the context of a new round of census taking in 2010. The five recommendations are to:
- Ask basic census questions and make the data publicly available;
- Compile and release existing administrative data;
- Centralize labor force surveys;
- Provide access to microdata, not just tabulations; and
- Include migration modules on more existing household surveys.
Given the abundance of recommendations in the development industry, a laudable effort is the accompanying report card (PDF) which tracks countries’ progress with respect to the recommendations.
The Migration and Remittances Team of the Development Economics Prospects Group (DECPG) of the World Bank is organizing a brown bag lunch seminar on "The Impact of the Economic Crisis on Migration and Remittances" on Monday, June 1, 2009 from 12:00pm-1:30pm, at the Main Complex of the World Bank, 1818 H Street NW, Room MC5-100. Two eminent scholars, Bimal Ghosh (Colombian School of Public Administration) and Manuel Orozco (Inter-American Dialogue) will present their views on how the economic crisis is effecting migration and remittances world-wide. The event will be chaired by Dilip Ratha, Lead Economist, DECPG.
This event is open to the public. If you would like to attend the brown bag lunch seminar, please RSVP by emailing Claudia Carter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The change in weather brings with it many a connotation: exam time, beach days, and holidaying. Yet for some, the trip they make this summer will not be on a jet plane or to a resort; they will attempt a trip out of misery, for themselves and their families.
In a recent seminar at the World Bank, Peter Dixon and Maureen Rimmer presented a paper titled "Illegal Immigration: restrict or liberalize?" showing that tighter border security and internal enforcement actually reduce the welfare for U.S. households; raise the wage rate of the undocumented migrants who remain; and generate dead-weight losses in the form of prosecution and prosecution-mitigating activities. More importantly, they explain that restricting the inflow of undocumented immigrants pushes U.S.
The Mediterranean—a basin of cultures, the demographics of which, it seems, invite both appeal and criticism…
Gone seem to be the days when water was the key in a process of communication; where those living along the coasts would be absorbing, assimilating and partaking in diversity and exchange. Routes were sea, not land. Trade was linked to ports, transport to ships, and movement to waves.
I recently revisited the Social Science Research Council's (SSRC) Web Anthology on Remittances and Development, and was pleasantly surprised to find an excellent collection of research articles on this rather fast-growing topic. The articles are presented in a convenient format, organized under some broad themes such as concepts, methods, measures, determinants, uses, and impacts of remittances.
One area where more articles exist and can be added are those on remittance systems (by this I mean retail payment systems) and how they can be leveraged for accessing finance/capital at the household or institutional level. There could also be more articles on regulations - especially on anti-money-laundering/countering financing of terrorism - that affect remittance transactions.