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Perspectives on Global Development 2017

International Migration in a Shifting World

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Perspectives on Global Development 2017 presents an overview of the shifting of economic activity to developing countries and examines whether this shift has led to an increase in international migration towards developing countries. The report focuses on the latest data on migration between 1995 and 2015, and uses a new three-way categorisation of countries. It describes the recent evolution of migration overall as well as by groups of countries according to their growth performance.It analyses what drives these trends and also studies the special case of refugees. It examines the impact on migration of migration policies as well as various sectoral policies in developing countries of origin as well as of destination, and studies the impact of migration on these countries. The report also develops four illustrative future scenarios of migration in 2030 and recommends policies that can help improve the benefits of migration for origin and destination countries, as well as for migrants. Better data, more research and evidence-based policy action are needed to prepare for expected increases in the number of migrants from developing countries. More needs to be done to avoid situations that lead to refugee spikes as well as to foster sustainable development.

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The development impact of migration in origin countries

OECD Development Centre

Emigration can have both positive and negative effects on the countries of migrant origin. Migration is not an absolute necessity for those countries’ development but it does bring benefits in terms not only of tangible form in the shape of the money and goods that the migrants send home but also in less tangible forms: the expertise, skills and knowledge acquired abroad and a wider view of the world that can help transform the societies they have left. But there is a price. Families are split. There may be adverse consequences for households that lose working family members. The departure of the brightest and best diminishes the country’s stock of human capital. Countries that see large numbers of their citizens emigrate have every interest in encouraging their return and discouraging some departures in the first place, and some have instituted relevant policies with this goal.

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