On Nov. 7, 2012, a motorboat carrying 110 illegal immigrants heading for Malaysia capsized in the Bay of Bengal close to Bangladesh’s southeastern border with Myanmar. This tragedy came less than a fortnight after a boat with more than 135 passengers capsized in the same area. “Boat capsized with illegal immigrants from Bangladesh” is a recurring story, with Thailand, Malaysia, and other Southeast Asian countries the destinations of illegal work seekers. What makes Bangladeshis resort to such extreme methods of migration?
We have issued the latest Migration and Development Brief, which includes the latest estimates for remittances in 2012 and projections up to 2015.
As our estimates for 2012 show, international migrants are weathering the effects of the ongoing global economic crisis and are on track to remit $406 billion in savings to their families in developing countries this year.
We expect remittances to developing countries to continue growing over the near term by an estimated 7.9 percent in 2013, 10.1 percent in 2014 and 10.7 percent in 2015 to reach $534 billion in 2015.
It is a pleasure to receive the inaugural issue of a new journal Migration and Development published by Routledge. While many journals are publishing articles on migration and development and a few are exclusively dedicated to the topic of migration, this new journal has the potential to comprehensively introduce more development into the discussions of migration issues. The journal includes articles written bypolitical scientists, sociologists, anthropologists and economists - a welcome feature for policy makers and stakeholders. I also liked the fact that the first issue of the journal has articles on internal migration (in India) and on migration to the Gulf region - both these topics are important and yet relevant data are hard to come by.
Here is a funny take on migrant integration by comic Maz Jobrani, an Iranian-American and a founding member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour. Have a great weekend!
What if “best practice” policy did not exist, and a policy maker just went ahead and implemented one? In doing so, would (s)he run the risks associated with inferences drawn from an empty set? For example, “nothing is better than eternal happiness; a ham sandwich is better than nothing; therefore, a ham sandwich is better than eternal happiness”?
As always after an intense ‘immersion’ in our programme work, I left the Philippines with my head buzzing. Here are some impressions, memories and ideas that don’t fit into a more structured blogpost:
Migration: One in 9 Filipinos are outside the country, constituting a major export sector (the government deliberately trains more nurses than the country needs, to encourage outmigration). On the way in from Qatar, I sat next to a Filipino gold miner, working for an Australian/Filipino company in Tanzania, 2 months on, 1 month off. OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers – this country loves acronyms) even have their own immigration channels at the airport (see pic).
The World Economic Forum recently published a very interesting Q&A with Ian Goldin that bore the arresting title: "What if rich countries shut the door on immigration?" Goldin is director of Oxford University's Martin School and in this short Q&A, he provides a thought exercise on the big picture consequences of a theoretical shutting down of immigration in developed countries.
We had an interesting launch event for this volume on July 10th at the World Bank's Infoshop in Washington DC. There have been a number of media reports (see for example the story on Wall Street Journal by Eric Bellman, a Q&A in Mint by Malia Politzer, and another Q&A by Donna Barne). See also related posts on this blog from my co-editors Ibrahim and Jeff on their interventions during the book launch.
Secretary Hillary Clinton is hosting the second Global Diaspora Forum tomorrow (on July 25th and 26th), in an emphatic recognition of the importance of the diasporas in fostering America's diplomatic and financial relationships with their countries of origin. (The size of diasporas in the US is anecdotally mentioned to be somewhere between 60 to 70 million - we don't know for sure and even worse, we don't yet have a consensus on the definition of diasporas.) To make the event accessible beyond the beltway, many sessions including the Secretary’s remarks will be livestreamed on state.gov. Also some parallel diaspora events are taking place at the same time - for example, a Tedx style event is hosted at the University of Minnesota. I understand that key State Department colleagues involved in the diaspora forum have reached out to Canada, the UK and the EU seeking collaboration on diaspora and development issues. Bravo!