In the May 2012 edition of the East Asia and Pacific economic update, I wrote that labor migration across East Asia will require more urgent attention from policy makers very soon given the large labor force declines that some countries will face in the next 40 years.
(With Roberto Ponce)
Migration issues have been at the center of discussion in the international agenda, mainly because of the financial crises and the new protectionism measures implemented by developed countries. Despite these current issues, there are several long-term topics that will require further research and attention within next decades.
Regarding demographic changes, developed countries (Europe, Japan) are aging whileAfrica, Middle East, and South Asia still experience a transitional demographic change. The challenge will be to meet the needs of migrants with their specific requirements of skills in developed countries, and the offer of youth labor with their specific stock of skills from developing countries. Countries need to be ready to meet these demands.
Due to the global recession, migration to the EU slowed down in 2009, for a net migration of 1,464,059 in 2008 to 857,186 in 2009 (a 40% decline). The reduction in migration flows is due to employment losses in countries of destination (especially Spain, Italy, UK) and to more restrictive immigration policies devised by European countries (e.g. UK points system, Italy prohibition on access to health service for undocumented migrants, Spain’s reduction in the number of positions available for immigrants).
More restrictive immigration policies by developed country governments are being implemented as the financial crisis deepens. For example, the United Kingdom just published a bill which contains some of the following measures:
1) Migrants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the UK will not have access to full services benefits and social housing; and
I'm originally from a small village in India. There is no doubt that many of the people I knew growing up were able to survive because of the money their relatives sent back home to purchase the most basic staples. In development jargon, this money is known as remittances, but from my point of view, this money was a lifeline.