Migration and Development

Migration and Development

Perspectives from Small States You do not have access to this content

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Commonwealth Secretariat
10 Feb 2015
9781848599239 (PDF)

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Over the past two decades, studies on the migration-development nexus often portray small states as one homogeneous group, ‘developing countries’, without considering their critical and peculiar challenges or inherent vulnerabilities, due mainly to their size.

This book explores key dynamics of migration and development in a small states setting. It includes case studies from small states in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific that will help policy-makers to embrace migration as an inevitable phenomenon and devise policies that will maximise the benefits from migration at a minimal cost.

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  • Foreword

    For more than four decades, the Commonwealth Secretariat has been working on behalf of small states – presenting to the international community the particular challenges that they encounter, proposing both national and international policy responses and providing a targeted programme of assistance to enable these countries to achieve their development goals. Small states have a unique set of developmental challenges, encumbered as they are by their small size, remoteness, limited human and institutional capacity, indivisible fixed costs, small markets, lack of diversification and opportunities restricted by scale.

  • Abbreviations and acronyms
  • Introduction

    Over the past two decades, the migration–development nexus has received increasing attention from experts, policy-makers and the international community as a whole, with many studies emphasising the need to mainstream migration into development planning and, more recently, into the global development agenda. The concept of migration has moved away from that of a mere brain drain to that of a twenty-firstcentury international phenomenon requiring careful attention to maximise its benefits at a minimal cost. However, the majority of the studies on the topic have dwelt on the migration–development nexus in general terms, often putting developing countries into one homogeneous group without considering the unique characteristics that other subgroupings, such as ‘small states’, have.

  • The Dynamics of Migration and Development in Small States

    International migration – an integral part of globalisation – has always been part of human existence. The recent upsurge in international migration has occurred in conjunction with the general increase in flows of trade, investment, finance, cultural products, information and technology. International migration has transnational implications when migrants pursue livelihoods in ‘receiving’ states and at the same time sustain links and activities in their countries of origin, thus affecting two states (Siskandarajah et al. 2008).

  • Temporary Migration Work Programmes in the Caribbean (Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago)

    This analysis is admittedly narrow in scope. The authors do recognise the existence of a plethora of agreements, of varying degrees of formality, that allow temporary workers from one Caribbean island nation to engage in labour contracts, at least for a while, in another. Regional, intra-Caribbean programmes of that sort, though, are small in scale. They are not generally viewed, either by labour economists or in popular perceptions, as being at the centre of the region’s economic development project, as major forces propelling new highs in employment. They may advance the cause of Caribbean integration, but hardly that of spurring significant economic development.

  • Temporary Labour Migration in the Pacific

    The Pacific has experienced a long history of temporary labour migration, especially from the two small atoll states: Kiribati and Tuvalu. Temporary agricultural schemes were briefly introduced by New Zealand in the 1980s and revived after Pacific island pressure and domestic agricultural labour shortages in New Zealand in 2007. Australia slowly followed. The two temporary work schemes for Pacific Islanders, the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme in New Zealand and the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme (PSWPS) in Australia, were designed with an explicit focus on gaining a cheap and reliable source of labour for national agricultural industries, and on linking migration to the development in the country of origin.

  • Guyana Country Case Study

    Historically, because of its large number of colonies, Britain was the most important source of migrants across continents. Available data indicate that migration from Britain averaged over 50 per thousand persons annually from the 1850s to the first decade of the 1900s. During the same period, over 50 million European citizens migrated, mainly to North America, with Canada averaging 88 per thousand persons per year and the USA 75 per thousand persons per year (Hatton and Williamson 1998).

  • Samoa and Tonga: Migration and Remittances in the Twenty-first Century

    Tonga and Samoa are the two island states in the Pacific most dependent on remittances, and their economies are otherwise primarily agricultural. International migration, mainly to New Zealand, first became significant in the 1960s and subsequent flows have maintained high levels. Both countries have sponsored migration and supported temporary migration schemes, and rarely sought to intervene in what have become the normal and normative processes of migration and remittance receipt. Both Samoa and Tonga have benefitted significantly from the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) seasonal labour scheme in New Zealand. Remittances have improved welfare and reduced poverty. Increasing the per capita volume of remittances is unlikely but increasing their effectiveness is possible.

  • Migration and Remittances in Development: A Study of Jamaica

    Migration has been associated with high levels of remittances, which are viewed as having a positive impact on the economy. This chapter assesses the effects of migration on Jamaica; the policies employed by the public sector and other sectors of the society to minimise drawbacks and maximise benefits of both; policies applied in other sectors that affect immigration; successful policy approaches adopted; and other policy options which could address the challenges of development and migration.

  • The Pacific Diaspora

    Emigration from Pacific island countries (PICs) began in earnest in the 1960s, in Polynesia, belatedly followed by many Micronesian states, but has not been characteristic of Melanesia. Many Polynesian states have more ‘ethnic nationals’ overseas than at home. Migration has resulted in an overseas population of around 850,000 people of Pacific ancestry/ethnicity, rather more than the entire resident population of Polynesia. Fiji has numerically the largest diasporic population but Samoa and Tonga have higher proportions of their nationals overseas than all other independent PICs. Remittances are crucial for several Polynesian states especially; they grew steadily until the global financial crisis, and the Pacific is one of the most remittance-dependent regions in the world.

  • The Role of the Diaspora in Southern Africa with Special Reference to Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland

    The volume of international migration has more than doubled since 1975 and Africans have become the most mobile population globally. Although much of the movement from and within sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is voluntary, a substantial part is triggered by a combination of political and economic events which may force professionals to migrate. A high proportion of these migrants are skilled and the ‘brain drain’ effect of this skilled emigration was perceived as a blight on the region’s economy before the twenty-first century. According to United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates, between 1990 and 2003, 20,000 skilled people left African countries annually for destinations elsewhere (Mutume 2003).

  • International Migration and Development in Lesotho: A Complex Interrelationship

    The southern Africa region can conveniently be divided into migrant-origin countries (e.g. Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Swaziland) and migrantdestination states (South Africa, Botswana and Namibia). Regional studies carried out by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Southern African Migration Project (SAMP) identify several economic, ecological and political factors as the main migration triggers, with push and pull forces determining the sources and destinations (IOM 2005, 2007, Crush et al. 2006, Pendleton et al. 2006).

  • International Recruitment

    The mobility of skilled professionals is one of the salient features of present-day globalisation, due in no small part to global labour shortages in key sectors such as health and education. However, these flows are increasingly complex, as would-be migrants respond to shifting realities both at home and abroad in a dynamic and rapidly changing global economy. Furthermore, the mobility of the skilled is not always a straightforward process. On one hand, skilled workers around the globe are increasingly aware of opportunities abroad and are often able to communicate with migration intermediaries in real time, thanks to increasing access to the internet. On the other hand, skilled workers’ mobility may be constrained by lengthy visa processes, difficulties in attaining relevant work licensure or other qualifications in destination countries, abusive practices of employers or recruitment agencies, and deep-rooted austerity programmes in many traditional receiving countries that have hardened ‘anti-immigration’ stances and may limit opportunities for highly skilled and low-skilled migrants alike.

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