Gaining from Migration

Gaining from Migration

Towards a New Mobility System You do not have access to this content

OECD Development Centre

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Jeff Dayton-Johnson, Louka T. Katseli, Gregory Maniatis, Rainer Münz, Demetrios Papademetriou
21 Aug 2007
9789264037410 (PDF) ;9789264037403(print)

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This report presents a summary of recommendations on how we can all gain from migration. They are the result of a multi-faceted project undertaken in partnership with the European Commission to rethink the management of the emerging mobility system. New ideas, based on an exhaustive review of past policy experiences in Europe and elsewhere, are offered for policies related to labour markets, integration, development co-operation and the engagement of diasporas.
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  • Preface
    An increasingly central dimension of globalisation is human mobility. The foreign-born population in OECD countries is approximately 8 per cent, reflecting a dramatic rise over recent decades. Policy makers and citizens look with growing interest — and sometimes with alarm — upon the economic and social consequences of these trends for OECD countries, migrants’ countries of origin, and the migrants themselves. Can international migration contribute to economic progress?
  • Executive Summary
    Europe will, on current trends, come to rely ever more on immigrants to balance supply and demand in labour markets, and more generally to fuel economic growth, as spelled out in the European Union’s Lisbon Agenda. International migration to Europe likewise has the potential to promote economic development in the migrants’ countries of origin, thereby serving European countries’ development co-operation objectives as well.
  • Introduction
    Migration is an increasingly central dimension of globalisation. The result is a new mobility system characterised by diverse forms of migration patterns. Policy makers and citizens look with growing interest — and sometimes with alarm — upon the links between this emerging mobility system and the economic and social outcomes within migrant-sending and migrant-receiving countries. Can international migration contribute to economic progress? With appropriate policies and programmes addressing all sectors of societies affected by migration, it can. At present, however, the prospects for economic and other gains from migration are beset by a variety of institutional obstacles.
  • New Migration
    The failure to manage the changes wrought by migration may engender social unrest and political instability. Not managing migration furthermore squanders the potential for migration to contribute to a nation’s dynamism, growth and prosperity, while thwarting migrants’ aspirations.
  • Migration and Employment
    As acknowledged previously, it is likely that the demand for both highly and low- or semi- skilled immigrants will continue to increase. These different types of migration call for a range of policies governing access to labour markets.
  • Migration and Social Cohesion
    For decades after the Second World War, the belief prevailed in most of Europe that immigration was not a permanent phenomenon. Guest workers were by definition temporary. Refugees often were left in limbo, unable to work, unclear whether and if they could settle permanently. The corollary to this nonimmigration presumption was an almost universal failure to develop policies for the integration of immigrants and their descendants. The Netherlands and some of the Nordic countries have been the most noteworthy exceptions in this regard.
  • Migration and Development
    Migration has profound economic consequences — many of them salutary, others more worrisome — for migrants’ home countries (see Katseli et al., 2006b). Potentially, migration can have positive effects on the development of sending countries. For example, migration can reduce unemployment, expand development through remittances, improve knowledge and skills, and introduce new technology. It can also, however, aggravate inequality, disrupt family life and social relations, and cripple essential social-service provision. Hence, it is vital to link migration and development policies for more effective management of migration.
  • Encouraging Migrants' Networks
    Migrants need to become partners in policy making and policy implementation. Migrant organisations provide individuals with connections, information, access to services and an opportunity to develop their skills (Rindoks et al., 2006). They can also be empowering by helping to imbue a sense of status and shared identity, which helps in campaigns to influence local and national policies. Strong migrant organisations usually enhance, rather than prevent, links with the mainstream political system.
  • Annex
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