Migration Narratives: The SHRAM Blog

Recognizing migration in global development agenda

As of today, one out of seven persons in the world is either an international or internal migrant. This has led to rising awareness of migration and its importance as a public good. In the post-2015 Global Development Agenda, migration should be recognized explicitly and its associated factors be given due emphasis. The Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda has mentioned international and internal migration as one of the important forces to impact the world by 2030. The Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals makes references to migration in seven out of the nineteen focus areas where migration could be integrated-Health, Education, Employment, Poverty Eradication, Sustainable Development, Promotion of Equality and Global Partnership. In addition to the above, the immediate need is to reduce migration costs, specifically recruitment costs. The report notes that publishing data on recruitment costs for low-skilled migrant workers in various corridors in regular intervals, similar to the remittance price database of the World Bank, can provide an effective metric for monitoring recruitment costs.

According to a news released by the World Bank this month , international migrants from developing countries are expected to send $436 billion in remittances to their home countries this year, despite more deportations from some host countries, in its latest issue of the Migration and Development Brief. This year’s remittance flows to developing countries will be an increase of 7.8 per cent over the 2013 volume of $404 billion, rising to $516 billion in 2016, according to revised projections from the latest issue of the brief.

The report however also notes that continued efforts are required to lower the cost of sending money through official channels, although inroads are being made. During the first quarter, the global average cost for sending money fell to 8.4 percent of the transaction value, compared with 9.1 percent a year earlier. The Remittance Prices Worldwide (RPW) research group notes that the cost of South-South remittances continues to remain high, with many developing countries imposing outright ban on outward remittances. The report notes that reducing such fees should be a priority in the global remittances agenda. Recognizing the close links between migration and development, the World Bank Group is deepening its engagement on the issue. Central to its involvement is its leading role in establishing and advancing the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD) program, which is envisaged as a hub of knowledge and policy expertise on migration.

According to new data released by the United Nations, there were 232 million international migrants (or 3.2 per cent of world population) in 2013, up from 175 million in 2000. In contrast with common perceptions, South-South migration was larger than South-North migration: 82.3 million (or 36 per cent) of migrants from developing countries lived in another developing country, compared to 81.9 million (or 35 per cent of migrants from the South) lived in a developed country. Among that, women accounted for 48 per cent of international migrants. Remittances remain a key source of external resource flows for developing countries, far exceeding official development assistance and more stable than private debt and portfolio equity flows.  Recent data released by the IMF and World Bank reveals that international migrant remittances to developing countries are estimated to have reached $404 billion in 2013.

For example, remittances to India exceeded earnings from IT services, and inflows to Egypt were larger than earnings from the Suez Canal during 2013. During the same year, remittances to Bangladesh were equivalent to 84 per cent of garment exports, and inflows to Nigeria amounted to about 22 per cent of receipts from petroleum exports. Globally, India remains the largest recipient of officially recorded remittances of $70 billion for the same period. Other large recipients include China ($60 billion), the Philippines ($25 billion), Mexico ($22 billion), Nigeria ($21 billion), and Egypt ($17 billion). Regionally the East and Asia Pacific (EAP) saw a rise in remittance figure by 4.8 per cent to $122 billion. Forecasts expect it to exceed $148 billion by 2016. Within this region, substantial movement of persons takes place, driven particularly by inequality of opportunities and income levels across the countries. Given the different trajectories of economic growth and skill gaps among the working population across the nations, migration will continue and remain robust.


Aritra Chakrabarty

Aritra Chakrabarty

Anchor, SHRAM (Till Dec 31st, 2014)

As a social researcher, I believe in knowledge-based policy action. With a postgraduate degree in Development Studies, I've been associated with social issues in my professional space. As a part of SHRAMIC initiative, was involved with data creation, sourcing of resources that will become the knowledge bank of this project.
Aritra Chakrabarty

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