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					Making Migration Work
for Development
Foreword..................................................................................... 1
Summary.of.key.findings..................................................... 2
Changing.dynamics.of.migration. ................................... 4
1 South–South and internal migration................................................ 5
2 Mobility of children and youth......................................................... 8
3 Migration, education and training................................................. 12

Impacts.of.migration.on.poverty.and.livelihoods... 16
4 Migration as a livelihood strategy................................................. 17
5 Migration and inequality............................................................... 20
6 Migration and social protection.................................................... 22 26
7 Skilled migration.......................................................................... 27
8 Migration and gender.................................................................. 30
9 Migrant diasporas. ...................................................................... 35

Migration.policies.................................................................. 38
10 Migration policies. ..................................................................... 39

End.notes................................................................................ 42
This report is the culmination of six years’ research by the
Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and
Poverty and brings work from anthropologists, economists,
geographers and political scientists from across the world together
in a way that reflects the multidisciplinary and international strengths
of the University of Sussex as well as the way in which migration can
affect and be affected by diverse areas of life. The Centre’s partners,
from Albania, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana and the UK, have brought
innovative and creative thinking to an area of research which has
grown in importance over the lifetime of the Centre.
It is a great satisfaction to see researchers at the University of Sussex
and its partners setting the agenda for migration policy in a way which
could have a tangible effect on the well-being of migrants and their
families across the world. Much migration policy is focused on how
development can be used to prevent migration, but this document
takes a fresh direction which puts migrants and their countries of
origin at the centre of policy debates.

Michael Farthing
University of Sussex

The Development Research Centre on Migration,                When the Centre started, we developed our analysis
Globalisation and Poverty was established in June 2003,      by focusing on three key areas: the changing dynamics
in recognition of the complex relationship between           of migration; the impacts of migration on poverty and
migration and poverty. Over the past six years, our          livelihoods; and ‘new initiatives’ relating to international
programme of research, capacity-building, training and       migration. This document sets out the Centre’s key findings
promotion of dialogue has been motivated by the need         across these three broad areas, and is organised into ten
to provide the strong evidential and conceptual base for     sections, each drawing out a ‘headline’ message that
new policy approaches to migration and development.          emerges from the Centre’s research. In each section, more-
Central to the Centre’s work has been our focus              detailed findings are highlighted, a selection of which are
on what migration means for development and                  presented in this document. This is intended to provide an
poverty reduction, rather than asking whether more           overview of the robust evidence from which conclusions
development might result in less (or more) migration.        have been drawn.

The Centre’s findings indicate that, for migration to have   In relation to the changing dynamics of migration,
its full developmental impact, the most beneficial policy    we highlight three overarching findings:
change would be to reduce barriers to migration, at all
levels and particularly for the poorest.                     1   Poor people are more likely to move over
                                                                 shorter distances, either within or between poor
                                                             countries. Despite being overlooked by most policy
    The Centre’s work has included the compilation           makers, these South-South international migrants and
    of data on migration flows, with an emphasis on          internal migrants in the South represent a clear majority
    those least-well represented in existing datasets;       of migrants worldwide.

    conceptual analysis of the links between migration,          One of the least visible forms of migration, but one of
    globalisation and poverty; major thematic and                particular importance in poor communities, is that of
    regional reviews of emerging migration issues and        children and young people who move without their
    policies; as well as targeted empirical field research   parents. Children and youth seek economic and social
    in a number of countries in West Africa, South           opportunities in better-off regions and often make their
    Asia, the Middle East and South-East Europe. This        own decisions to move.

    work has resulted in the compilation of a number of
    robust databases and user-friendly web resources;            Education and training play a major role in the
    the production of more than 40 working papers and            migration decisions of children and poor people
    50 refereed journal articles or book chapters; and       but are easily overlooked. Indeed migration and education
    new conceptual approaches in areas that include,         often go hand-in-hand. Although migration can in a few
    but are not limited to, the migration of children and    cases lead to children dropping out of school, it is more
    youth; the mobility of highly skilled professionals;     common for migration to facilitate investment in education,
    and social protection by and for work migrants.          either in the place of origin or of destination.

In relation to the impacts of migration on poverty              Finally, we seek to draw findings together in relation
and livelihoods, we highlight a further three key               to the development of policy on migration, where we
findings:                                                       find that:

4   Liberalising the mobility of people should lead
    to global welfare benefits. Migration is also a
common livelihood strategy of the poor, and represents
                                                                10    Policy development on migration remains
                                                                      fragmentary, and there is still a lack of consensus
                                                                on what pro-poor migration policies should look like in
an important route out of poverty for many poor people.         poor countries.
However, migration is not without risks and costs.              Further details about the projects on which these findings

5   Where poor people have a greater choice in
    terms of migration destinations, the net effect
on inequality is more likely to be positive. Migration
                                                                are based, as well as data and knowledge resources, are
                                                                available at the Centre’s website, at
can increase or decrease inequality, depending on
geographical scale and the location and type of inequality.     October 2009

6   Access to formal social protection for migrants
    is highly patchy, as are agreements between
countries that allow people to transfer social benefits
from one state to another. This lack of portability can
undermine the development potential of international
                                                                “ ormigrationtohave
In turn, in relation to new initiatives in international
migration, we highlight key findings in three areas:

7   Skilled migration is largely a symptom, not a
    cause, of underdevelopment. A distinction needs              impact,themost
to be drawn between countries that export skilled labour
from a large pool of supply, and those which are losing          beneficial policy change
high proportions of scarce and critical human resources.
8   Migration streams, migration work destinations and
    migration impacts show marked differences between            barrierstomigration,at
                                                                 all levels and particularly
men and women that are not accurately described by
the notion of a ‘feminisation of migration’. Migration can

both exacerbate the impact of existing gendered
roles and bring about significant changes in gender

9   Diaspora engagement can contribute to the
    development of countries of origin but this is a
highly politicised arena. Such engagement includes the
transfer of financial capital, and the exchange of skills and                      Richard Black
knowledge, and does not require migrants to return to be                           Director, Development Research Centre
effective and sustainable.                                                         on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty


    Continuing to improve the quality of
    data on stocks and especially on flows
    of migrants remains a major task. This
    can and should be facilitated by the
    standardisation of census questions;
    increasing the public availability of micro
    data; and further dissemination of model
    ‘migration modules’ within existing
    socio-economic surveys.1

                                                  © Claudiad/istock
                                                                     Based on these statistical data, it has been
Key finding 1:                   Since its inception, the Centre     possible to draw the following key findings

                                 has placed emphasis on the          of importance to the relationship between
                                 provision of robust empirical       migration and poverty:
international           data from which to develop clear
                         conclusions about the relationship          1.1 It is estimated that South–South

andinternal            between migration, globalisation and
                         poverty. This has included an effort to
                                                                     migration constituted around half of
                                                                     all international migration from the
migration                improve the quality and availability of
                         globally and nationally representative
                                                                     South at the turn of the 21st century,
                                                                     representing between 61 and 74 million
Poor people are          statistical data on migration, as well as   people.6
more likely to move      investment in empirical case studies of     1.2 There are also substantial flows that
                         a quantitative and qualitative nature.      are internal to countries in the global
over shorter
                         Two major new databases have                South, including an estimated 34 million
distances, either
                         resulted from this effort; the Global       inter-provincial migrants in China in 2000,7
within or between        Migrant Origin Database2 – a 226x226        and 42 million inter-state migrants in India
poor countries.          matrix of bilateral migration stocks        in 2001.8
Despite being            compiled from national censuses             1.3 South–South international
overlooked by most       (the latest round in 2000–2001),            migration is particularly significant
                         population registers, national
policy makers,                                                       for sub-Saharan Africa, where 69 per
                         statistical bureaux and a number            cent of international migrants were living in
these South–South        of secondary sources;3 – and the            other sub-Saharan African countries
international migrants   Migration in National Surveys4 web          in 2001.9
and internal migrants    resource, which provides summary
                         information and web links to 165            1.4 South–South international
in the South
                         nationally representative data sources      migration and internal migration in
represent a clear        worldwide, each of which includes           the South are of particular significance
majority of migrants     specific information on migrants and/       for poor people, and for poverty.
worldwide.               or migration, including the migration       For example:
                         of children. In addition, the Global        • In much of the Savannah belt of Ghana
                         Migrant Origin Database has been            and Burkina Faso, migration to Europe is
                         used to underpin the World Migration        only a dream for children and youth from
                         Map Data Tool,5 which sets out in map       poor families, whereas internal migration
                         and tabular form the major migration        is an option for all, even rural children in
                         flows to and from countries worldwide.      their teens, so long as they can afford the

                                                                                                                             © G.M.B. Akash/panos
bus fare.10 Youth from poor families also      the basic needs of migrants’ families left   A child works hanging fish to dry at
find the means to travel to Côte d’Ivoire,     behind in Upper Egypt.11                     a dry-fish plant on Sonadia island.
                                                                                            Dried fish is a popular Bengali food,
where wages are higher and, since the
                                               • A number of our studies in South Asia      with 50,000 people employed in
peace agreement in March 2007, to where
                                               highlight the high volume of circular,       the industry in the coastal areas.
the flow of Burkinabé youth has increased
                                               temporary and/or seasonal labour
                                               migration by rural households that
• Circular migration is a particularly         effectively straddle labour markets in two
common form of migration in the South          or more locations. Whilst this includes
and is a major livelihood strategy of the      some South–North international migration,
poor. Interviews with 242 male migrant         it typically involves the spreading of
workers in Egypt demonstrate that circular     household members across national or
movement is a ‘survival strategy’ to sustain   regional labour markets.

• Research in southern Bangladesh, and           • Despite the above examples, data on
in the state of Jharkhand in India, shows        circular migration, whether internal or
that, whilst a minority of richer families are   international, remains poor or non-existent
able to migrate internationally or find local    in many regions.
white-collar occupations, for the majority
                                                 1.5 The Centre’s qualitative research has
of other families, labour migration of one
                                                 also made clear that, especially within
or more family members to local towns
                                                 South–South international and internal
and the national or state capital, often for
                                                 flows in the South (see Key Finding 2),
poorly-paid jobs, is a key component of
                                                 there are significant movements
household income.12
                                                 of children, including children moving
• Evidence from Albania suggests                 independently. However, data sources on
that the bottom 20 per cent in terms of          migration are currently poorly designed to
per capita consumption expenditure –             capture these flows.14
the poorest – are unlikely to consider
                                                 1.6 Climate change is likely to impact the
international migration. However, on
                                                 factors that drive migration but widely
average, a 5 per cent rise in district-level
                                                 circulated estimates and projections of
hourly wages was found to reduce the
                                                 the volume of climate-related migration
probability that an individual considers
                                                 have little basis in evidence. A review of
migrating by half of one percentage
                                                 climate–migration linkages in sub-Saharan
point.13 The relationship between poverty
                                                 Africa suggests that the most vulnerable
and propensity to migrate in Albania is
                                                 to climate change may be those least
thus best illustrated by a bell-shaped
                                                 able to migrate, and that where they do
curve, whereby both the very poorest and
                                                 move, this is often over short distances.
the best-off are the least likely to migrate.

    There is an urgent need for policy
    development to support children and youth
    in safe mobility that realizes their aspirations.
    Actions to support migrant children should
    build on the measures that they, their parents
    and communities are already taking to
    promote positive outcomes for children.
    In turn, terms used to describe different
    categories of child migrants – such as
    trafficked or fostered – often tell us little
    about the extent to which a child migrant
    is vulnerable to exploitation and/or abuse.
    The vulnerabilities of specific groups of
    child migrants need to be more sensitively
    addressed, paying attention to the contexts
    in which children have made the decision

                                                        © Samrat35/dreamstime
    to migrate.

                                                                    • Trafficked children appear to constitute
Key finding 2:                  Several of the Centre’s research
                                                                    only a small share of migrant children.

                                projects in Ghana, Burkina
                                                                    Whilst the issues affecting those who are
                                Faso, Bangladesh and India
                                                                    trafficked should not be downplayed, it
                         have focused on children who migrate
                                                                    is important to recognise that all child
                         independently, without their parents
and youth
                                                                    migrants are subject to a range of risks
                         or guardians, either within their home
                                                                    and vulnerabilities.
                         country or to a neighbouring country.
One of the least         These child migrants tended to come        2.2 Children in different locations
                         from poor areas where there are high       were found to migrate from a range
visible forms of         rates of adult out-migration. The          of motives.
migration, but           majority moved between the ages
                                                                    • In West Africa independent child
one of particular        of 14 and 17, but there were some
                                                                    migration is an outcome of chronic
importance in            12–13-year-old migrants and a small
                                                                    poverty and a lack of economic and social
                         minority aged 10–12. A key element of
poorer countries, is                                                opportunities in rural areas, but it is also
                         this area of research was to interview
that of children and                                                a route to greater social maturity and
                         child migrants themselves, as well as
                                                                    obtaining work-based skills.17 For some,
young people who         some adults.
                                                                    migration is a step towards getting the
move without their                                                  resources to marry; others hope to secure
parents. Children      2.1 Many of the children interviewed
                                                                    better education, or to save to go to
                       in the Centre’s research viewed
and youth seek         migration as a significant opportunity
                                                                    secondary school.
economic and social    that allows them to exercise their           • In Bangladesh child migrants constitute
opportunities in       own life choices, improve economic           two broad groups: the first comprises
better-off regions     opportunities and sometimes earn funds       rational economic agents who, recognising
                       for their education. Their experiences are   the gaps in opportunities between home
and often make
                       diverse, as young migrants are positively    and the cities, choose to migrate; and
their own decisions    or negatively affected by economic           the second is made up of victims of
to move.               circumstances, the existence of extended     economic deprivation, social discrimination
                       family networks, established gender roles    or environmental degradation.18 Personal
                       and the expectations of their parents.16     motivation also ranks high on children’s

significant opportunity that allows them
agenda for moving in search of a life that       who had migrated from the Northern
is different and, in many ways, better than      Region to Kumasi and Accra reported
the one they have been born into.                that it was their decision, but the process
                                                 suggests the tacit involvement of at least
• In Karnataka, health shocks and chronic
                                                 one parent or other relation.22
poverty persist as causes of migration, but
another recent trigger is educational failure.   • In India, while young boys in Karnataka’s
Boys who are not succeeding at school            coastal belt often strike tough bargains
face wrath and violence from parents             with their parents to push through their
and schoolteachers and stigma from               own preferences for migration, similar
their peers. Some negotiate permission           intra-household disagreements in Mandya
to go away to work as the least-worst            District may instead result in young boys
alternative.19                                   running away without informing anyone at
                                                 home about their plans or intentions.23
• In India, younger brothers are
increasingly being encouraged into               2.3 In practice, child migrants often
premature entry into the labour force, to        balance their responsibilities
fund the dowry expenses of their sisters.20      within the family and their personal
                                                 aspirations and this is influenced by
• An important element in understanding
                                                 family circumstances and their social
the causes of child migration concerns the
extent to which children themselves are
involved in decision-making about their          • Losing one parent by death often
migration. Overall, we found that children       increases the likelihood of a child migrating
play a large part in making the decisions        to work. In the Ghana and Bangladesh
about their mobility, although these are         studies, for some children migration for
rarely straightforward.                          work is a response to acute need, where a
                                                 father is disabled or sick or where a family
• In Bangladesh the decision stems in
                                                 is headed by a lone mother.24
most cases from a joint resolution by
parents/guardians and children, but some         • Most of the young migrants interviewed,
children migrate despite resistance from         while seeking to increase their
parents, or only half-hearted support.           opportunities for independent incomes
A few children run away from home, often         and to escape from the uniformity of
for specific reasons, and do not even            rural life, are mindful of their family’s
consider asking their parents.21                 circumstances and send remittances to
                                                 their parents, or to help siblings.25
• In Ghana and Burkina Faso, children are
usually actively involved in the decision-       • As they get older, migrant youth
making surrounding their mobility and            increasingly use their incomes to help their
often make the choice themselves to              home communities. The Burkina Faso
migrate; a few do not consult their parents      study found that, when they first migrated,
at all. Two-thirds of children interviewed       adolescents use their earnings to meet

                                                                                                                               © Robin Hammond/panos
their needs in town and to buy clothes but,       • Children use friends, neighbours and      A training session on the beach for
as they grow older (and earn more), they          relatives to make their journeys safe, to   young African footballers who are
                                                                                              enrolled in the football academy
pay more attention to using their savings         find or provide shelter and to help them
                                                                                              run by Dutch club Feyenoord.
to help their rural families, either at time of   to find work.28                             The academy, which has a team
crisis or in longer-term goals such as help                                                   entered in the Ghanaian league,
in building a house.26                                                                        provides a formal education as
                                                                                              well as coaching players in order
• Migration during adolescence allows                                                         that the best will be transferred to
children to negotiate relationships with                                                      Feyenoord.
parents and older relatives on a new and
less-passive footing and may represent a
significant pathway for these changes to
occur. Migrant children may be important
and positive agents for change.27

 The quality of education in rural areas is very
 poor and impacts negatively on children’s
 willingness to stay. A key area for improvement
 is that of schooling in rural areas to provide
 greater opportunities for children and give
 them a real choice about migration.
 Improving education should also seek to make
 the educational curriculum more responsive to

                                                   © Koscusko/dreamstime
 labour-market requirements.

                                                                         • In South Asia, a number of teenage boys
                                   Our work on the relationship
Key finding 3:                     between migration, education
                                                                         were found to migrate in order to fund part

Migration,                        and training has encompassed
                                                                         or even all of their own education. Teenage
                                                                         girls, however, did not migrate for work, on
                            studies both of the significance of
                                                                         account of the prevailing gendered views
                            education in the migration decisions of

                                                                         that saw girls/women as ideally being
                            children and poor people, and of the
                                                                         confined to their homes.29
                            development of a new framework for
training                    understanding the mobility of highly
                            skilled professionals. (see Key Findings
                                                                         • In the past, many child labour migrants
                                                                         to Bombay were encouraged and given
Education and               7.6–7.8).                                    the opportunity to attend Kannada Night
training play a                                                          Schools by their hotel employers. Although
                            Education is a theme in all our work
                                                                         presently in decline, these schools
major role in the           on the migration of children, but there
                                                                         provided learning experiences that are
migration decisions         has been a specific focus on the role
                                                                         reported on very positively by migrants.
                            of education in migration decisions, as
of children and             well as the educational consequences         • As in South Asia, children in West Africa
poor people but are         of migration, in research in                 migrate to rural or urban areas to get
easily overlooked.          Bangladesh and India.                        money for the costs associated with their
Indeed migration                                                         education, especially at secondary level.
                          3.1 Concerning work on migration
and education                                                            • In Ghana, a key reason for children
                          and education as it relates to children,
often go hand-in-         a strong and generally positive
                                                                         migrating independently of their parents
hand. Although                                                           or elders is to access educational
                          association was found between
                                                                         and training opportunities. Similarly, in
migration can in a        migration and education.
                                                                         Burkina Faso, many rural children join
few cases lead to         • Money brought to West Bengal through         relatives in rural towns or larger cities to
children dropping         short-term labour migration has made           begin apprenticeships, although better-
out of school, it is      the education of children more affordable      quality apprenticeships are sometimes
                          for some, potentially covering the main        inaccessible to poor migrants who cannot
more common for           additional costs of going to school,           afford to pay fees, or do not have a relative
migration to facilitate   and, above all, the cost of providing          willing to take them in.30
investment in             private tuition, considered vital for better
education, either in      performance in school.
the place of origin or
of destination.

                                             3.2 Nevertheless, interviews with child       school evening classes, or take up
                                             migrants with no education in Bangladesh      an apprenticeship a couple of years
                                             reveal that 70 per cent of them had           into their migration in response to
© Kirsz Marcin/shutterstock

                                             never attended school because of the          experiences of low or unpaid wages or
                                             ‘impoverishment of their family’. They        poor working conditions.34
                                             felt that, by migrating for work, they had
                                                                                           3.6 Overall, our research shows that
                                             missed their chance to go to school, and
                                                                                           independent child migrants rarely
                                             expressed regret at this.31
                                                                                           drop out of school in order to migrate
                                             3.3 In a study conducted in Indian and        for work.
                                             Bangladeshi villages, the quality of
                                                                                           • This is the case in the West African
                                             schooling and the existence of state
                                                                                           Savannah, largely because most had
                                             scholarships and stipends were found
                                                                                           either already left school for other reasons
                                             to matter in poor, rural contexts,
                                                                                           well before they migrated, or were never
                                             allowing children to postpone any
                                             decision to migrate until after secondary
                                             school, and potentially enabling higher       • However, there are some examples,
                                             economic returns to migration.32              such as in the coastal belt of Karnataka,
                                                                                           India, where migration was found to be
                                             3.4 Migration for work has created
                                                                                           the reason why boys dropped out of
                                             the need for a range of new skills
                                                                                           school. Here child labour migration is
                                             and language competencies in
                                                                                           increasingly initiated by boys themselves,
                                             South Asia. Educational systems are
                                                                                           especially those who are not doing well
                                             yet to acknowledge the shifts in work
                                                                                           at school. Growing parental aspirations
                                             contexts. There is need for a more diverse
                                                                                           and school performance expectations,
                                             curriculum as well as a more flexible
                                                                                           and the consequent widespread physical
                                             system of provision.33
                                                                                           punishment, both at home and in school,
                                             3.5 For rural children and youth in West      are a primary cause of migration.36
                                             Africa, migration to the city is a learning
                                                                                           • A study in the state of Jharkhand in
                                             process in itself, and there is evidence
                                                                                           India suggests that migration streams
                                             that some either enrol in primary
                                                                                           towards agricultural, construction, and
                                                                                           other manual, factory or domestic work,
                              Schoolingshouldbeimproved                                often create a downward pressure on the
                                                                                           demand for schooling. Here, migration for
                              inruralareastogivechildrena                           work is seen more as a pragmatic strategy

                                                                                           for social mobility than as an investment in
                                                                                           education, especially given the persistent

                              curriculumshouldalsobemore                              decline in the availability of formal, white-
                                                                                           collar employment.37
                                      3.7 In Bangladesh, a study of international     • Reflecting this, migration, and especially
                                      student migration abroad found that, in         international migration, appears to
                                      many cases, prospective students are            be positively correlated with levels
                                      unable to access relevant information           of education, with a particularly high
                                      independently due to a lack of language         migration propensity in Africa amongst
                                      and research skills, of awareness of            those who have completed university-
                                      where to look, and of access to important       level education. In Albania, however, the
                                      sources. Access to training abroad              most qualified (i.e., university educated)
                                      varies by social class: students from           were found to be less likely to aspire to
                                      wealthy backgrounds with good English-          migrate than those with either secondary
Although migration can lead to
                                      language skills, internet access and social     or vocational education.
children dropping out of school, it   contacts abroad, and greater confidence
is more common for migration to       in finding information, are better positioned
facilitate investment in education.   than the other sections of the society.38

                                                                                                                                © David Snyder/dreamstime

                Policy should seek to reduce barriers
                to labour migration in order for it to
                contribute more fully to poverty reduction.
                For example, a number of countries retain
                de jure or de facto restrictions on internal
                migration, whilst international migration is
                highly regulated.


                                                               © Iva Zimova/panos
                                                                               Prospects 2006 – which uses our data
 Key finding 4:                            Our research has included both
                                                                               – puts this benefit at $350bn globally,

                                           macro-economic analysis that
                                                                               with greater increases in relative terms
                                           seeks to estimate the aggregate
                                                                               for developing, compared to developed,
                                    consequences of international
                                    mobility, and analysis of the livelihood
 livelihood                        consequences of migration as they
                                    are seen from the perspective of poor
                                                                               • In developed economies, real incomes
                                                                               of permanent residents could increase by
 strategy                           people and communities in developing
                                    countries. In relation to the former,
                                                                               an average of $200 per person, with over
                                                                               half of the increase coming from a lifting
 Liberalising the                   the compilation and incorporation          of quotas on unskilled labour. Permanent
 mobility of people                 of bilateral migrant-stock data into       residents of developing countries could
                                    a global applied general equilibrium       also gain by $24 per person in real income
 should lead to global              model has enabled analysis of the          from sending unskilled labour, but only $4
 welfare benefits.                  impact of liberalising mobility at a       from sending skilled labour.
 Migration is also a                global level. In addition, community-
                                                                               • Whilst results differed across developing
 common livelihood                  level studies have been undertaken
                                                                               economies, most gain from higher
 strategy of the poor,              in sending areas in Bangladesh,
                                                                               remittances sent home. New migrants
                                    India, Ghana and Albania. We have
 and represents an                  also examined the incorporation of
                                                                               gain in real terms by over $9,000 per
 important route                                                               person, whilst workers in developing
                                    poorer migrants into destinations more
                                                                               countries also gain, as real wages rise
 out of poverty for                 broadly across South and South-East
                                                                               with reduced labour supply.
 many poor people.                  Asia, West Africa and the Middle East.
                                                                               • The only group of workers predicted
 However, migration               4.1 Findings from macro-economic             by this analysis to lose in terms of
 is not without risks             analysis using general equilibrium           real incomes are existing migrants in
 and costs.                       modelling focused on examining the likely    developed economies. Existing labour
                                  consequences of a 3 per cent increase in     migrants tend to hold the most precarious
                                  mobility of skilled and unskilled workers    jobs in the labour market and will be the
                                  from developing countries show benefits      most affected by competition from new
                                  to nearly all countries from relaxing        migrants.
                                  restrictions on mobility, with greater
                                                                               4.2 The Centre’s research at community
                                  benefits from the movement of
                                                                               level has also provided important
                                  unskilled labour.39 Independent analysis
                                                                               empirical findings in particular case
                                  by the World Bank’s Global Economic
Indian migrant workers erect
electricity pylons leading from
Northern Afghanistan to Kabul.

studies, which stress that there are           migration and poverty; however, whilst
both benefits and risks or costs for           for the very poor, internal migration
international migrant workers and              is often a survival strategy, where
their home communities. In general,            members of the poorest households move
international migration is more lucrative      to the poorest-paid urban or rural jobs to
for migrants than internal migration, but      obtain any kind of income, members of
it usually costs much more and involves        slightly-better-off households migrate to
much higher risks.                             get marginally-better-paid jobs that provide
                                               a potential route out of poverty.
• In Bangladesh, remittances from low-
skilled international migrants clearly help    • Research in North-West Bangladesh
to improve the economic condition of their     shows that seasonal internal migration
families back home. But there are some         for income and work provides much-
significant debts to middle men which          needed core income beyond that which
cannot always be paid off, especially if       is available in poor areas. Meanwhile, the
migrants lose their jobs or fall ill. In the   money acquired through migration is used
worst cases, potential migrants are tricked    to pay for household necessities, invest in
out of years of family savings in their        crops and land, repay loans to NGOs and
efforts to enter the lucrative international   individuals, and to pay for the significant
job market.                                    costs of the treatment of illness. However,
                                               only a few were found to have the
• Even where migration brings them
                                               opportunity to accumulate assets such as
economic benefits, the social impact on
                                               livestock and grain that serve as ‘reserves’
some families left behind can be negative,
                                               for the future.42
for example in terms of the separation of
families. Some families are better able to     • In neighbouring West Bengal, temporary
cope with such separation than others.         internal migration was seen as a reluctant
                                               but necessary and increasingly available
• The benefits of international migration
                                               livelihood strategy. Although agricultural
do spread beyond the immediate families
                                               work still dominated as the main sector
of international migrants. However, the
                                               of employment for migrants, work                 When the rural poor move to cities
Centre’s work in Sylhet, Bangladesh,40                                                          they often take the lowest paid
                                               opportunities had expanded compared to
shows that the help or protection poorer                                                        jobs. This can still provide them
                                               an earlier study in the late 1990s, reflecting
households get from migrants to the UK                                                          with more of an income than is
                                               the Kolkata construction boom, and the
very much depends on relationships of                                                           available in their rural villages.
                                               expansion of rural brick manufacture and
patronage – contradicting evidence from
elsewhere that patron-client relations are
breaking down in the face of migration41       • A review of evidence across sub-
(see Key Finding 5.3).                         Saharan Africa suggests that migration
                                               may be a key livelihood strategy that will
4.3 Community-level data, in particular
                                               allow households to build resilience in the
from studies across South Asia,
                                               face of climate change effects.
demonstrate a strong link between internal

                                              4.4 However, in some cases, internal           • Many child migrants were found to
                                              migration can significantly increase           have only a few years’ education and few
                                              vulnerability.                                 recognisable skills, and this confines them
                                                                                             to low-paid and insecure work. Thus,
                                              • Those migrating to work as rickshaw
                                                                                             many northern Ghanaian children migrate
                                              pullers, a phenomenon identified in two
                                                                                             to work on farms, usually living in as family
                                              studies, are often highly vulnerable, as the
                                                                                             members, often with relatives.46 They also
                                              work involved takes a terrible
                                                                                             migrate to perform a variety of types of
                                              physical toll.44
                                                                                             work in the urban informal economy.47
                                              • The wellbeing and vulnerability of child     Young male Burkina Faso migrants in
                                              migrants depends on what kind of living        Ouagadougou seek waged employment,
                                              situation they secure in their places of       but they often engage in petty services
                                              destination, whether they work or go to        such as shoe-shining as a tide-over activity
                                              school, what kind of work they do and          before they find employment or when
                                              the social networks available to them.         between jobs.48
                                              Three kinds of child migrant were found
                                                                                             • In Ghana, trends were observed which
                                              to be the most at risk. Some young child
                                                                                             might imply increased vulnerability. The
                                              migrants working as hawkers and casual
                                                                                             economic growth of the Southern cities
                                              labour in Dhaka had difficulty in making
                                                                                             has widened disparities between North
                                              enough income to eat, or were cheated
                                                                                             and South. This acts as a magnet for
                                              and abused. Some of the young female
                                                                                             young migrants and as a temptation for
                                              migrants to Ghana’s cities were vulnerable
                   © Ivan Stanic/dreamstime

                                                                                             poor parents to agree to let children go,
                                              to sexual abuse and exposure to HIV/
                                                                                             when they are perhaps less ready to meet
                                              AIDS. Children migrating from abusive
                                                                                             the challenges they will face.49
                                              family situations are also more vulnerable.
                                              All these young migrants took steps to
                                              safeguard themselves by building strong
                                              peer relationships.45

Migration Policy                              RMMRU has conducted a three-                   distribution of flyers. The second strand
                                              pronged campaign to ensure rights for          of the campaign has been to focus on
Engagement                                    ‘stranded Bihari’s’ in Bangladesh.             ‘rehabilitation with dignity’ and the third
– Working With                                On 5 September 2007 the government of          to make a serious attempt to counteract
Communities                                   Bangladesh decided to award citizenship        stereotyping the role of the Biharis as the
                                              rights to the ‘Biharis’, following the         new government embarks on the trial of
                                              RMMRU campaign to highlight findings           war criminals of 1971. The second and
                                              of their research which showed                 third elements of this campaign were
                                              government policy was based on an              based on the release of a short film,
                                              outmoded notion of Bihari views. This          ‘Naro Shundor’ (The Barbershop), which
                                              has involved a multifaceted campaign,          was reviewed favourably in Bangladeshi
                                              from high-level meetings to community          newspapers and received a number of
                                              consultations, press statements and            showings at the British Council in Dhaka.

                                                                         in particular because relatively richer
                                  Our work on the relationship
 Key finding 5:                   between migration and
                                                                         households were able to benefit more from

 Migration                       inequality included a review of
                                                                         it than relatively poorer households.

                           case studies from Central America,            • In Sylhet, so-called ‘Londoni’
                           West Africa and South Asia, as well           households, where people have moved

 inequality                as empirical evidence from village
                           case studies focused more broadly
                                                                         to the UK, build much bigger houses and
                                                                         invest in business enterprises; in contrast,
                           on migration, livelihoods and social          households without an international
 Where poor
                           protection. A global review did               migrant have slipped further behind
 people have a             not provide conclusive evidence               economically in the face of a mini-boom
 greater choice in         that migration either increases, or           funded by remittances. Thus, whilst
 terms of migration        decreases inequality, but rather              overall economic growth has been
 destinations, the net     concluded that the nature of the              funded by remittances, internal inequality
                           effect depended both on the type of           has increased.
 effect on inequality      inequality that was of concern, and the
 is more likely to be                                                    • In North-West Bangladesh, those
                           specific circumstances of migration.46
                                                                         migrants who ended up the worst-off
 positive. Migration
                                                                         were found to be those already struggling
 can increase or         The impact of migration on inequality
                                                                         to make up for losses suffered due to
                         varies in at least three ways:
 decrease inequality,                                                    river-bank erosion, chronic poverty or
 depending on            5.1 Geographical scale – migration              disability, where migration sometimes even
 geographical scale      appears to reduce inequality on a               compounded their problems; in contrast,
                         global scale. As the increase in welfare        those with some land, supportive kin or
 and the location and    resulting from an increase in the mobility of   richer patrons were more likely to find
 type of inequality.     workers from developing countries accrues       that migration contributed to securing
                         more to developing than developed               their futures.50
                         countries (see Key Finding 4.1), it follows
                                                                         • Similarly, in West Bengal, women in
                         that migration can contribute to reducing
                                                                         households with micro-plots of land were
                         global inequality. However, this does not
                                                                         better placed to get by in the absence
                         necessarily hold at national or local
                                                                         of breadwinners than landless migrants.
                         level, where relatively richer households
                                                                         Older men, who found they were physically
                         are able to benefit more from migration
                                                                         unable to carry out the hard work
                         than poorer households.
                                                                         expected of migrants, often either tried
                         • In village studies in South Asia, we          to start a trading business, or took
                         did find empirical evidence of migration        to begging.51
                         increasing inequality – in places of origin,

                                                                                               A potential policy
                                                                                               response to
5.2 Different locations – in countries
of destination, migrants may have
                                                                                               growing inequality
unequal rights compared to local                                                               would be to ensure
workers, leading to an increase in                                                             wider access
local or national inequality; however, in                                                      to a range of
places of origin, effects on inequality are                                                    (legal) migration
likely to be more diverse.
                                                                                               opportunities for
5.3 Type of inequality – inequality is often                                                   poor people since,
measured in purely economic terms,
but migration may also affect power
                                                                                               as more people
relations between rich and poor, different                                                     move, the process
ethnic or caste groups, or between men                                                         of migration
and women.                                                                                     generally becomes
• The case of Londoni villages in Sylhet,                                                      more equitable. In
                                               © Paul Smith/panos

Bangladesh, demonstrates how the status                                                        contrast, where the
of rich households involved in migration                                                       poor are effectively
to the UK allows them to maintain strong
patron–clientelist relations compared                                                          restricted to shorter
to the poor internal migrant labourers                                                         distance, less-
in their villages. Thus, whilst the poor                                                       remunerative or
receive social protection from the Londoni     • Evidence for this has been identified in
                                                                                               less-safe migration
households, such benevolence comes             our work in Bangladesh, where restrictions
                                               on international unskilled female migration     streams, they will
with strings attached, with the poor having
to provide a constant supply of ready          has driven the migration of poorer women        lose ground in
labour, political support and other services   into illegality, making them significantly      relation to less-poor
which are rarely made explicit.52              more vulnerable to exploitation and             migrants.
                                               reducing the potential for their migration to
5.4 Nonetheless, a general finding on          reduce either gender or income inequality.
inequality was that, where poor people
have a greater choice in terms of              • The Centre’s research in Albania also
migration destination, the net effect on       shows that a major reason why the poor
inequality is more likely to be positive.      are restricted to less-beneficial migration
                                               opportunities within the country or to
                                               neighbouring Greece is because of strong
                                               restrictions on movement to elsewhere
                                               in Europe.

 The increased portability of
 benefits would be a practical
 way of improving conditions for
 returning migrants, removing
 reservations which some long-
 term international migrants might
 have about returning home
 and encouraging migrants’
 participation in the formal
 economy. A key challenge
 is for countries in the South
 to develop the capacity to
 coordinate pension payouts
 across international borders.
 Increasing support to migrants’
 networks and associations
 would also help to bolster
 informal social protection

                                     © Dave Logan/istock
                                                                        6.2 Particular problems are faced by
                                 The Centre’s work on the
Key finding 6:                   relationship between migration
                                                                        internal and international migrants

Migration                       and social protection has
                                                                        within the South, many of whom
                                                                        migrate and work with ‘irregular’ status.
                          included global analysis of the
                                                                        Their ‘irregular’ status not only further
                          portability of social benefits (carried

                                                                        exacerbates the impossibility of them
                          out jointly with the World Bank); new
                                                                        accessing any formal social protection
                          survey evidence on migration and
                                                                        programmes, but also means they often
                          social protection in relation to South–
Access to formal          South and South–North migration
                                                                        face exploitative or even abusive labour
social protection         corridors from two sub-Saharan
for migrants is           African countries – Malawi and Ghana;         • Temporary work migration is an essential
highly patchy, as are     and detailed ethnographic analysis of         part of many livelihoods in Bangladesh.54
agreements between        social protection practices amongst           However, temporary work migrants often
                          internal migrants in Bangladesh, India        fall through the social protection net, and
countries that allow      and Ghana.                                    those left behind when family members
people to transfer                                                      migrate temporarily can be as vulnerable
social benefits from    Although people who migrate across              to risk and adversity as the migrants
one state to another.   international borders have diverse profiles     themselves.
                        and needs, there are four essential
This lack of            components of social protection for
                                                                        • Both formal (state pensions, stipends
portability can         international migrants: access to social
                                                                        and food grants) and informal (NGO
undermine the                                                           and community support) forms of
                        security programmes in host countries;
                                                                        social protection depend on stability of
development             the portability of earned benefits (such
                                                                        residence and social relations, and hence
potential of            as pensions); labour market conditions
                                                                        disadvantage migrants in general.
                        in host countries; and migrant social
international           support networks.                               • Food grants in Bangladesh are available
migration.                                                              as back-up support for short-term,
                        In relation to the access of migrants to
                                                                        temporary migrants. However, provision
                        social protection:
                                                                        of state social protection is not sufficient
                        6.1 The majority of people who                  for survival or for poor people to give up
                        migrate between countries in                    migration altogether. Internal migration to
                        the South do not have access to                 wealthier regions of the country, notably
                        formalised social protection schemes            to areas that have seen other migrants
                        in their host countries (including retirement   moving to the Gulf or the UK, can be a
                        pensions, health insurance, bereavement         vital safety net for the chronically poor,
                        benefits and injury compensation) as such       especially in times of crisis.
                        schemes often do not exist.53

6.3 Ultimately, in cases where migrants           and are vulnerable to labour-market
receive no protection from the government         exploitation, health risks and other
of their host country, they must be               difficulties.
prepared to shoulder the burden of any
                                                  In relation to the portability of earned
risks or difficulties they encounter during
their migration or to rely on social
networks composed of other migrants               6.5 Migrants from the South often
for support.                                      contribute to social security
                                                  programmes while working abroad,
• Networks of kin and neighbours are
                                                  but many have little to show for these
key forms of social protection for wives
                                                  contributions when they move on or
left behind in South Asia by migrants to
                                                  return home. This is particularly relevant
the Gulf. In turn, networks of patronage
                                                  in the case of public pensions, to which
provide social protection for other poorer
                                                  some migrants contribute significant sums
households, including in-migrants (see Key
                                                  of money while abroad.
Finding 4.7).
                                                  • Just under a quarter (24 per cent) of all
• Social networks were found to be
                                                  international migrants enjoy the portability
very important in mediating migrants’
                                                  of pension benefits, yet most of these
work experiences in both the cocoa and
                                                  workers are citizens of OECD countries.
pineapple sectors in Ghana.55 At the same
                                                  Some regional blocs, including the EU,
time, migrants described themselves
                                                  have concluded multilateral agreements
as having less social support than the
                                                  on portability and a number of countries
indigenous population because their social
                                                  have signed bilateral agreements ensuring
networks (primarily in the form of extended
                                                  the portability of pension benefits across
family) are weaker. These differences are
                                                  international borders.
more evident in times of financial difficulty
or when there is illness or death in the          • In contrast, a majority (54 per cent)
family. Despite this, migrants appear to          of international migrants have access
take little advantage of opportunities to         to social security benefits in their host
buttress their weak social position by            countries, but do not enjoy the portability
joining different forms of association in their   of these benefits — and a disproportionate
destination areas.                                number of these migrants are from
                                                  developing countries.
6.4 In countries where formal social
protection regimes are in place                   6.6 Limits to the ‘portability’ (or
(generally OECD countries) there are              transferability) of pensions give some
significant gaps in social protection             short-term migrants less incentive to
for migrants. Those who face the most             work in jobs in the formal sector, if
acute risks are ‘irregular’ migrants who          this means contributing to social security
work illegally. These workers often lack          schemes from which they will not benefit.
access to social security programmes

                                                                                           Both formal and informal forms
                                                                                           of social protection depend on

                                                                   © Alfredo Caliz/panos
                                                                                           stability of residence and social
                                                                                           relations, and hence disadvantage
                                                                                           migrants in general. This girl is
                                                                                           sitting by a mirror in a barber’s
                                                                                           shop which is financed by a micro
                                                                                           credit union.

6.7 A lack of portability may undermine
return or circular migration, as migrants
who have spent a considerable amount
of time in their host countries are likely to   ‘Irregular’-statusjobshaveno
factor in the loss of benefits if they return
to their countries of origin. Thus, a lack
of portability of pensions can potentially
undermine the development potential of          andareoftenexploitative.
international migration if the potential loss
of earned benefits makes migrants more
reluctant to return home and invest the
skills and capital acquired abroad in their
home economies.


 Rather than a simplistic notion of ‘brain
 drain’ from developing countries, warranting
 barriers to emigration or some form of
 ‘ethical recruitment’ policy in destination
 countries, a much more nuanced view of
 skilled migration is required.
 Countries need to identify and enable
 migration and development policies that
 support human resource development,
 rather than simply restricting mobility.
 Examples are identified in Bangladesh
 and Ghana.

                                                © Sven Torfinn/panos
                                                                     • In Albania, survey evidence suggests
                                  Our research on highly skilled
Key finding 7:                    migration focused on Albania,
                                                                     that, in the period 1991–2005, more than

Skilled                          Bangladesh and Ghana. In
                                                                     half the lecturers and research workers
                                                                     in universities and research institutions in
                          particular in Ghana, a survey of 94
                                                                     Albania had left the country, but just 10
                          trainee doctors and 447 trainee nurses
                                                                     per cent, had returned.58
                          in 2005 provided valuable evidence
Skilled migration is      on levels of migration and motivations     • In Bangladesh, highly skilled return
largely a symptom,        for migration within the healthcare        migrants feel that in their home country
not a cause, of           sector, and has fed into national-level    they can become ‘big fish in a small pond’.
underdevelopment.         discussions on how to approach             Some professionals make career sacrifices
                          the professional mobility of health        that, according to them, are compensated
A distinction needs       workers. Research on the migration         by the social gains from returning.
to be drawn between       of skilled professionals undertaken by     Furthermore, successful professionals
countries that export     the Centre, including case studies on      who return want the opportunity to
skilled labour from       the mobility of health professionals in    contribute to development and society
                          Ghana and Bangladesh, suggests that        in their home country.59
a large pool of           the consequences of skilled migration
supply, and those         are far from clear.56
                                                                     7.2 The data for examining flows of
which are losing high                                                highly skilled migrants are inadequate
                                                                     and generally based upon country of birth
proportions of scarce   7.1 Levels of emigration of newly-
                                                                     against country of present residence.
and critical human      trained professionals from the South
                                                                     Critical additional information is required to
                        are high and growing; there is, however,
resources.              some evidence of return.
                                                                     assess the extent and significance of any
                                                                     ‘brain drain’, including the country or place
                        • In Ghana, evidence from professional       of training, and the length of stay in the
                        associations suggests that the number        place of present residence.
                        of doctors seeking to leave the country
                                                                     7.3 The size of countries makes a
                        each year as a proportion of those trained
                                                                     critical difference to the impact of
                        rose from 60 per cent in 1995 to over 90
                                                                     skilled emigration. The loss of relatively
                        per cent in 2002, averaging 69 per cent
                                                                     few skilled professionals from small labour
                        over the period. However, the proportion
                                                                     markets can have a disproportionately
                        of nurses applying to work outside Ghana
                                                                     large impact compared to much larger
                        remained constant at around 20 per cent
                                                                     flows from bigger economies. One way to
                        of those trained over the same period.57
                                                                     address this is to explore labour-market
                                                                     integration between small economies.

7.4 Policy recommendations based               • Ghanaian policy to limit the emigration of
on causation between the number                health professionals by offering improved
of skilled people leaving a country            working conditions appears to have been
and deteriorating conditions in that           only partially effective at best. A policy
country have to be treated with great          initiative sought to double the wages of
care. Simple correlations do not imply         doctors to incite them to work in Ghana;
causation. Deteriorating conditions are        however this has not significantly reduced
caused by factors other than migration.        their rate of emigration. Moreover, nurses
                                               are now demanding that the same policy
• Many skilled professionals leave the
                                               be extended to their profession, which
sector in which they trained, but not their
                                               would be both ineffective in terms of
home country. This results in ‘brain waste’,
                                               curbing ‘brain drain’ and economically
where people are not using the skills they
have acquired.
                                               • Skilled professionals often cannot be
• In the case of Albania, out of the return
                                               productively employed at an appropriate
migrants who previously worked as
                                               level in their countries of origin. This helps
lecturers and researchers, over three-
                                               to explain the massive exodus of teachers
quarters leave research and higher
                                               and lecturers from Albania, particularly at
education and start working in the
                                               tertiary level.
private sector.60
                                               7.6 Expanding training opportunities in
• In addition, skilled professionals are
                                               countries of origin could increase the
often not willing to work in places where
                                               supply of health workers at home and
their skills are the most needed – this is
particularly the case in rural areas. No
government in Bangladesh, in the last          • The Overseas Employment Policy of the
four decades, has been able to convince        Government of Bangladesh has pursued
largely middle-class physicians to work        the migration of nurses as an important
in rural areas, despite regulation and pay     strategy for entering into the highly
incentives.                                    skilled global labour market. However,
                                               our research has identified a number of
7.5 Policies that aim to limit, control
                                               institutions and regulations that constrain
or divert the migration of the highly
                                               the training of quality nurses for local and
skilled from countries of origin are
                                               international employment.
likely to end in failure.
                                               • The majority of nurses trained in
• Skilled migrants generally have the
                                               Bangladesh are diploma nurses and only
knowledge and resources to migrate
                                               four institutions offer a Bachelors degree in
should they wish to do so and if they are
                                               nursing. Current government guidelines for
stopped from migrating to their chosen
                                               the validation of nursing courses and the
destination they may be forced into
                                               establishment of new nursing institutions
irregular channels in order to achieve
                                               have so far deterred private-sector
their objectives.
                                               participation. Nonetheless, a Task Force

                                                                                          © Tim A. Hetherington/panos
                                                                                                                        Josephine McKeever stands in her
                                                                                                                        aunt’s house, in Liberia, holding a
                                                                                                                        photograph of her mother, a nurse
                                                                                                                        currently working in Ghana. Twenty
                                                                                                                        per cent of Ghanaian nurses apply
                                                                                                                        to US and UK hospitals, leaving a
                                                                                                                        skills gap.

established following the presentation        stressful, skills upgrading still emerged
of our research findings has reiterated       as the most important reason offered for
the point that the policy should facilitate   emigrating (see Key Finding 3).
participation of the private sector and not
                                              • Following the establishment of the
impose conditions that reduce the scope
                                              Ghana College of Physicians and
for such participation.
                                              Surgeons in 2003, more doctors appear to
• At an individual level, survey evidence     be staying in Ghana to upgrade their skills.
from trainee doctors and nurses in            The college now has between 400 and
Ghana showed over half (58 per cent) of       600 students.
those interviewed plan to migrate after
                                              7.7 Nonetheless, policies that provide
completion of their undergraduate studies.
                                              state funding for high-level training
The most prominent motive for skilled
                                              may need to be reappraised, with
migration was the search for ‘further
                                              training for the global market to be funded
training’ (38 per cent of respondents),
                                              for the most part from private sources and
significantly higher than ‘improved working
                                              state funding concentrated on the training
conditions’ (28 per cent), ‘more money’
                                              for those skills most needed to achieve
(20 per cent) or finding ‘a better managed
                                              the Millennium Development Goals. In
healthcare system’ (15 per cent).61
                                              doing this, greater attention could be
Amongst trainee nurses in particular,
                                              paid to issues of sectoral and regional
whilst 71 per cent described the nursing
                                              imbalances in some countries suffering
profession in Ghana as frustrating and
                                              from brain-drain.

 Policies aimed at poverty
 reduction in areas affected by
 migration need to recognise
 that both access to and
 experience of migration are
 highly gendered. There are
 opportunities for policies to
 build on the transformational
 potential of migration in
 terms of gender relations,
 but the direction of such
 transformations should not
 be assumed.

                                  © Sanjit Das/panos
                                                                   This section seeks to bring together
                                Gender has represented a
Key finding 8:                  cross-cutting theme for all of
                                                                   findings relating to gender from across

Migration                      the Centre’s work, as well as
                                                                   empirical and review work carried out by
                                                                   the Centre, focusing both on gendered
                         a specific focus for some research
                                                                   patterns of migration, and on the way in
                         projects. It is a topic that has gained
                                                                   which the consequences of migration
                         growing attention over the last decade
Migration streams,       in migration and development policy
                                                                   are often differentiated by gender.
migration work                                                     It demonstrates how gender and
                         and practice, with the establishment
                                                                   migration interact in complex ways.
destinations and         of a Global Migration and Gender
migration impacts        Network in 2005,62 and increasing         8.1 Our research on migrant children
                         reference to the ‘feminisation of         shows that the motives for child
show marked              migration’ in international fora and      migration, and the type of work at
differences between      some academic writing. In practice,       destination are strongly differentiated
men and women that       women represented 47 per cent of          by gender.
are not accurately       international migrants already in 1960,
                                                                   • In several cases, girls are migrating
                         and the share grew only marginally
described by                                                       at younger ages than boys, mainly to
                         to just under 49 per cent in 2000;
the notion of a          moreover, the share of women in
                                                                   work as live-in domestic helpers, often
‘feminisation of                                                   with relatives.64 However, in Karnataka,
                         international migration from less-
                                                                   runaway migration is confined to boys
migration’. Migration    developed countries remained more
                                                                   and migrating girls are very few. There,
can both exacerbate      or less unchanged over this 40-year
                                                                   girls play a very minor role in the decision-
                         period, at around 45 per cent.63
the impact of existing                                             making about their movements and work
gendered roles           The conditions of work and regulatory     exclusively as domestic servants.65
                         framework for domestic workers – a
and bring about          largely female occupation – have been
                                                                   • Migrant boys and girls in West Africa
significant changes      a specific focus of research in Cairo,
                                                                   and Bangladesh want capital to start small
in gender norms.                                                   enterprises, but boys also want consumer
                         where foreign domestic workers from
                                                                   items such as watches, bikes and radios,
                         Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Nigeria
                                                                   and they want to learn skills. In contrast,
                         are a substantial minority of the large
                                                                   many girls speak of saving in order to
                         domestic-servant workforce.
                                                                   assemble a decent ‘suitcase’ (Ghana) or
                                                                   dowry for their marriage.66

8.2 There are also important gender            respect, even though the quality and
differences in the propensity to               conditions of work overseas are harsh
migrate more generally, and to choose          and demeaning.68
particular migrant destinations.
                                               8.3 By migrating as domestic workers,
Gender differences in work destinations
                                               women are able to access paid
are influenced by labour markets, and
                                               employment. However, female migrants
education, and also by norms about
                                               remain very vulnerable in contexts
family responsibilities and relations
                                               where national labour legislation
between the genders.
                                               specifically excludes domestic work
• In Albania, men are 20 per cent more         from regulation.
likely to consider migrating internationally
                                               • The movement of migrant tribal women
than women. This is particularly true in
                                               domestic workers to cities in India has
households with dependent children aged
                                               rapidly expanded over the last decade
5–8, where women are less likely, but men
                                               and reflects a diversity of experience from
are significantly more likely, to consider
                                               total exploitation to fair remuneration.
                                               The conditions of work, however, remain
• In South Asia, migration streams are         personal and servile; leisure is absent and
strongly gendered, with women engaging         respect lacking.69
largely with domestic and agricultural work
                                               • Domestic workers often experience
in Jharkhand (India) and domestic and
                                               exploitation. For example, in a study in
garment work in Bangladesh. Men on the
                                               Cairo, conditions of work were found
other hand are engaged with a range of
                                               to be poor, wages low and hours long.
manual work in agriculture, construction
                                               Forty-three per cent of Sudanese migrants
and factories. In Karnataka, the vast
                                               earned $100 or less per month and 75 per
majority of rural out-migrants aged under
                                               cent of live-in domestic workers worked
18 are boys. Similarly, in West Bengal,
                                               12+ hours, with 44 per cent working 15 or
migration is highly gendered: almost all of
                                               more hours per day. Over a third worked
those migrating are men.
                                               seven days a week. However, they are
• In some communities in Bangladesh,           allowed to leave their employers, who tend
female migration is often seen as              not to hold their passports, so they can
an appropriate short-term strategy             seek employment elsewhere in Egypt.70
contributing to survival and household
                                               • Domestic workers also experience
maintenance rather than accumulation
                                               abuse. For example, a third of domestic
and social mobility. In contrast, long-term
                                               workers in the Cairo study were called
international male migration is encouraged
                                               abusive names, usually by their female
because it is more rewarding and can
                                               employers; 27 per cent reported physically
contribute to the long-term economic
                                               abuse – such as slapping, hitting, pushing,
strategies of families. Male migration over
                                               punching, kicking, pulling or burning
longer distances is seen as of higher
                                               with a cigarette – whilst 10 per cent
status in terms of social mobility and
                                               had experienced some kind of sexual

                                                                                                               With their husbands away working,
                                                                                                               women are often forced, through
                                                                                                               insufficient food, to resort to low-
                                                                                                               paid sasonal agricultural work such
                                                                                                               as clearing cotton fields.

                                                                                        © G.M.B. Akash/panos
harassment, including rape and attempted      more individual control, whereas Muslim
rape, by the male employer or a male          women have seen a decline in the quality
family member where they worked.71            of food and care they can give their
8.4 Cultural and religious differences
affect the impact of migration on             8.5 The same study showed that internal
women. For example, low-caste migrant         migration from rural areas to the
Hindu women were found to have taken          urban slums of Rajasthan can have
jobs outside their homes in slums in urban    negative impacts on health. Migrants
Rajasthan, usually as low-paid domestic       are less likely than longer-term residents
workers, but Muslim migrant women had         to be proactive on health issues. They
not. The two groups of mothers report         are submerged by the more immediate
quite different impacts on their ability to   economic concerns of securing
feed and look after their children as a       employment and income in a context
result, with Hindu women saying they          where there is also little support from kin.
provide for their children better and have    In particular, migrant mothers are more

likely to experience child loss compared        • These changes are facilitated by
to non-migrant, urban women. This is            madrasa education, valued for both boys
because they return to their rural parental     and girls, but with different justifications.
homes to give birth, which increases risk.      Knowledge of the Arabic language was
Poor tracking facilities in the health system   seen to facilitate Gulf migration for boys,
add to their vulnerability.                     and to help girls become more religious-
                                                minded, caring and dutiful in a context of
8.6 The impact on wives when
                                                likely male absence over long periods of
husbands work away can be profound.
                                                time. Women’s madrasa education is thus
• Many women who stay behind                    not seen as a threat to their husbands, as
experience considerable anxiety and             it is not expected to lead to greater female
insecurity. Almost all the wives interviewed    autonomy or decision-making.73
in West Bengal report an increasing and
                                                • Being in a refugee camp or in another
not necessarily welcome reliance on their
                                                country had loosened some gender
own or their husbands’ kin. Those with
                                                norms, through interaction with other
husbands away find it particularly difficult
                                                nationalities and cultural practices, wider
to travel to get urgent and necessary
                                                access to rights for women, and much
medical treatment. Many also find
                                                greater access to education and incomes
themselves with insufficient food, forcing
                                                for girls and women. Educational and
them to resort to low-paid seasonal
                                                economic empowerment in camps has
agricultural work.
                                                challenged Southern Sudanese gender
8.7 Migration can lead to differentiated        practices and opened up possibilities for
and complex changes in gender                   more gender-equal relations.74
norms; this is evidenced in cases of
                                                • However, returning to Southern
voluntary migration in Bangladesh and
                                                Sudan after many years’ absence is a
constituted a major theme in a project
                                                complex process, not least because
on Southern Sudanese forced migration
                                                home communities have been changed
and return.
                                                irreversibly by the experience of war
• Research in Bangladesh suggests               and displacement. Returning young
that there are longer-term impacts of           men have found themselves subject to
international male labour migration on local    misconceptions, jealousies and tensions
norms about gender. The considerable            between returnees and those who stayed
status and value attached to men willing        behind and often felt discriminated against
to work overseas is changing ideas about        by the local authorities when they tried
masculinity. Ideas about femininity are         to get jobs in government education and
changing too: dowries are increasing, as        health systems. However, gender norms
is men’s control over women, who are            in Southern Sudan bear down the most
discouraged from work outside the home;         heavily on women and girls, where return
motherhood and care are also becoming           represents the shrinking of their new
more central to women’s identity.72             freedoms and rights.

                                             Pro-active policies in origin
                                             countries to mobilise diaspora
                                             can be helpful, but attention
                     Key finding 9:
                                             also needs to be paid to
                     Migrant               issues of citizenship, trade
                     diasporas               and investment regulation and
                     engagement can
                     contribute to the
                     development of
                     countries of origin
                     but this is a highly
                     politicised arena.
                     Such engagement
                     includes the transfer
                     of financial capital,
                     and the exchange of
                     skills and knowledge,
                     and does not require
                     migrants to return
                     to be effective and
© Sanjit Das/panos

                                            9.3 Migrants don’t have to return
         The Centre’s research on
                                            permanently to make a contribution
         diasporas, like all areas of our
                                            to development but, where they do,
         research, has been driven
                                            sustainability of return is best
 by the issues of most importance
                                            measured in terms of the extent to
 to countries of origin and migrants
                                            which individual returnees are able
 themselves. The bulk of migration of
                                            to reintegrate in their home societies,
 significance to poor people and to
                                            and of the wider impact of return on
 poverty takes place within developing
                                            macro-economic and political indicators,
 countries, and within the Global South
                                            rather than on narrow judgements
 (see Key Finding 1), but diaspora
                                            about whether returnees subsequently
 policies have been mainly orientated
                                            re-emigrate after their return.76
 towards those in the Global North,
 and are sometimes driven by other          • Exchange of skills and knowledge is not
 agendas. Our work has looked both          necessarily limited to permanent or even
 to review experiences of different         temporary return – for example, the
 kinds of diaspora policy globally, and     Alb-Shkenca Forum is made up of
 to analyse the particular context and      Albanian scholars who reside both inside
 experience of diaspora engagement in       and outside the country, but all of whom
 Bangladesh, Ghana and Albania. This        are looking for ways to promote progress
 work suggests a number of important        in science and technology in Albania.
 considerations for governments
                                            9.4 The extent of diaspora
 seeking to link diaspora populations
                                            contributions that promote
 with development strategies.75
                                            development depend in part on the
                                            size and investment capability of the
9.1 Diaspora populations are
                                            diaspora population, but also on the
often interested in contributing to
                                            political, economic and institutional
development strategies in their
                                            climate of the country of origin. If
countries of origin, but may choose
                                            the investment climate is not good, then
highly varied forms of engagement,
                                            incentives to diasporas alone will not
ranging from small-scale community
                                            produce the desired outcomes.
initiatives to major investments and
transfers of knowledge.                     9.5 Nevertheless, pro-active policies
                                            in origin countries to mobilise the
9.2 Research in Bangladesh shows that
                                            skills of diaspora populations can
the transfer of financial and social
                                            be helpful. Examples of such policies
capital by ‘return migrants’ and
                                            include the promotion of temporary and
‘transnationals’ enhances human
                                            permanent return schemes and incentives;
capital and contributes to the
                                            the development of web-based databases
development of the sending state.

and resources to facilitate job searches        are often actively engaged in opposition
or skills registers; and the promotion          politics, and may adopt extreme positions
of events or prizes to honour diaspora          that foster conflict and violence.
members and facilitate ‘homecoming’.
                                                • Dual citizenship on its own does
• An increasing number of states are            not appear to enhance diasporas’
extending the right to vote to diaspora         contributions, but it does ease regulatory
populations. Such extra-territorial voting,     hurdles for those wishing to engage,
in conjunction with other rights extended       and increases efficiency once a diaspora
to non-resident citizens, provides one          member has invested in his or her home
way in which emigrants can maintain             country.
and develop legitimate forms of political
                                                • Diaspora communities are not
transnationalism and allows states to retain
                                                homogenous and, in response to this,
and build highly productive connections
                                                some states have chosen to target specific
with diaspora groups.77
                                                sections of their diaspora populations.
• It is important also to note, however, that   For example, Albania has chosen to target
such engagement may not be supportive           members of the Albanian diaspora who
of the leadership and/or structures in          have the training and skills necessary to
place in their country of origin: diasporas     work in education, health and agriculture.78

                                                                                                             The dome and minaret of Glasgow
                                                                                                             Mosque and Islamic Centre
                                                                                                             contrast with skyscrapers of the
                                                                                                             Gorbals area of Glasgow.

                                                                                         © SoopySue/istock


© Abbie Trayler-Smith/panos
                                                                       10.1 Although most PRSPs
                                         A significant focus of the
Key finding 10:                          Centre’s work has been
                                                                       mention migration, there remains

Migration                              on policy analysis, both at
                                                                       a heavy emphasis on how a lack
                                                                       of development causes migration,
                           an international and a national level.
                                                                       rather than on identifying the potential
                           This work has focused on a global

                                                                       for migration to represent a route out of
                           analysis of the extent and ways in
                                                                       poverty. Indeed, many PRSPs describe the
                           which migration is addressed in poor
                                                                       development consequences of migration
                           countries’ broader poverty reduction
Policy development                                                     in highly negative terms.79
                           strategies, as well as on engagement
on migration remains       with international and national debates     • Very few PRSPs discuss present
fragmentary, and           on migration and development policy;        evidence on the development impacts of
there is still a lack of   regional analysis of labour migration       internal migration, and most assume these
consensus on what          agreements in the Mediterranean;            impacts to be negative, in spite of the
                           and national-level analysis of              significance of internal migration for
pro-poor migration         emerging policies on migration and          poor people.
policies should look       poverty, notably in Bangladesh. In
                                                                       • Despite some attention to the potential
like in poor countries.    addition, all our research has sought
                                                                       poverty reduction role played by migrant
                           to identify relevant policy findings
                                                                       workers’ remittances, few PRSPs develop
                           and recommendations which are
                                                                       policies that address remittances, or other
                           highlighted in each section.
                                                                       ways (e.g. diaspora engagement) in which
                           From 1999–2008, some 59                     migrants or migration could be mobilised
                           developing countries produced a             to support poverty reduction efforts.
                           ‘Poverty Reduction Strategy
                                                                       • There is a disjuncture between poor
                           Paper’ (PRSP) as part of a shift to
                                                                       countries’ approaches and policies on
                           identifying routes for pro-poor growth
                                                                       migration, as recorded in PRSPs, and
                           and development, with 25 of these
                                                                       national policies on migration as reported
                           countries producing a second, revised
                                                                       to the UN Population Division. Moreover,
                           PRSP during this period. Comparative
                                                                       there is no evidence of an increasing focus
                           analysis of these PRSPs by Centre
                                                                       on migration in PRSPs over time.
                           researchers sought to examine
                           whether they provide evidence of a
                           shift in the way that the relationship
                           between migration and poverty is
                           conceptualised and appropriate
                           policies are developed.

• A very small number of examples of
‘good practice’ in incorporating migration
into PRSPs includes Bangladesh,
Albania and Sri Lanka. In Bangladesh,
for example, discussion of the effects of
migration draws on research evidence,
including community-level studies in
poor communities, as well as time-series
macro-data relating to migration, notably
remittance trends over time.

                                               © Olga Besnard/dreamstime
  Our policy analysis has also looked at
  bilateral labour migration agreements.
  The research has sought to address
  whether these might form the basis
  for binding agreements under GATS

10.2 Formal labour migration
agreements cover only a small                  public or private; how long migrants are   Paris, France, 8 April 2009: people
proportion of total emigrants, whilst          allowed to spend abroad; whether they      gathered to protest against a law
many labour agreements are informal                                                       which prohibits the provision of aid
                                               include women, or only men; whether
                                                                                          to illegal immigrants. The banner
and not public. The limited information        they match the skills of migrants to the   says ‘Let them live here’.
available on bilateral temporary labour        jobs on offer; and whether they provide
migration agreements and the importance        security of stay.
of flexibility in implementing them suggest
                                               • It was also found that macro-economic
that it would be extremely difficult to use
                                               conditions and the extent of return
them as a basis for binding agreements
                                               influence the significance of bilateral
into GATS commitments.
                                               agreements in terms of development
• However, based on analysis of two            outcomes.
publicly available labour migration
agreements between Morocco and Spain
and Egypt and Italy, five key considerations
for assessing the impact of labour
agreements on development in the country
of origin were identified: whether they are

Migration Policy   RMMRU has advised the Bangladesh              • The government’s policy of not
Engagement         government on a range of migration-             allowing recruitment agencies to
                   related issues, including student migration     open branch offices, the lack of
– Working With     and the role of consular services. Here we      initiative of the recruitment agents to
Governments        draw out findings from work on the role of      bring about changes in that policy and
                   the recruitment industry in migration:          the propensity of aspiring migrants
                                                                   to depend on trustworthy persons
                   • There are about 800 formal recruitment
                                                                   have created a condition for informal
                     agencies in Bangladesh. Despite this,
                                                                   intermediaries to play a decisive role
                     aspiring migrants for short-term
                                                                   in the recruitment of workers.
                     contract work prefer to use informal
                     agents, because they are known to           • In cases of ‘failed’ migration it is
                     them, have a reputation for successfully      generally difficult for migrants
                     facilitating migration and are generally      to seek redress from agencies,
                     located in the vicinity of their home or      because of the absence of
                     place of work.                                documents laying out terms and
                                                                   conditions of work and monetary
                   • There is a strong profit incentive
                                                                   transactions. Success in securing
                     for recruitment agencies to focus
                                                                   compensation depends to a large
                     on the migration of unskilled and
                                                                   extent on the capacity of the cheated
                     low-skilled workers rather than
                                                                   migrant to mobilise his or her
                     skilled workers or professionals. Yet
                                                                   social contacts. Cases were found,
                     government mechanisms (rules and
                                                                   however, where informal agents had
                     institutions) to regulate recruitment
                                                                   contingency arrangements in place to
                     agencies in this area are generally
                                                                   compensate failed migrants.
                     inappropriate and inadequate, whilst
                     the sector’s trade body is unwilling to
                     bring order to and take action against
                     errant agencies.
                   • The high cost of migration has
                     been identified as a major problem
                     faced by Bangladeshi migrants.
                     There are major differences between
                     government-approved fees, and the
                     actual cost of migration, reflecting
                     the existence of several tiers of rent-
                     seeking intermediaries located both in
                     countries of origin and of destination.

  Black R, Skeldon R. Forthcoming. ‘Strengthening Data     10
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                                                             Migration DRC. 2005. Who is Most Likely to Migrate from
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Migration and Remittances. World Bank, Washington DC,      14
                                                             Rossi A, Castaldo A. 2008. The Impact of Migration on
                                                           Children in Developing Countries: Existing Evidence and
                                                           Data. Presented at the Civil Society Days of the Global
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  Based on the 2000 census count of people residing        Philippines
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                                                             Whitehead A, Hashim I and Iversen V. 2007. Child
Tunón M. 2006. Internal Labour Migration in China:
                                                           Migration, Child Agency and Inter-generational Relations in
Features and Responses. ILO Office, Beijing, http://www.
                                                           Africa and South Asia. Migration DRC Working Paper no
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                                                              Migration DRC. 2006. Independent Child Migration:
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                                                           Paper no 11,

  Hashim IM. 2006. The Positives and Negatives of             27
                                                                Thorsen D. 2006. ‘Child Migrants in Transit: Strategies to
Children’s Independent Migration: Assessing the Evidence      Assert New Identities in Rural Burkina Faso’. In Navigating
and the Debates, Migration DRC Working Paper no T16,          Youth, Generating Adulthood: Social Becoming in an      African Context, eds. C Christiansen, M Utas and H Vigh.
WP-T16.pdf;                                                   Uppsala: Nordic Africa Institute, pp. 88–114;
Kwankye SO, Anarfi JK, Tagoe CA, Castaldo A. 2009.            Khair 2008; Iversen 2005
Independent North–South Child Migration in Ghana: The
                                                            Hashim 2006; Khair 2008;
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                                                          Kwankye SO, Anarfi JK, Tagoe CA, Castaldo A. 2007.
no T29,
                                                          Coping Strategies of Independent Child Migrants from
                                                          Northern Ghana to Southern Cities. Migration DRC Working
   Khair S. 2008. Child Migration for Work. RMMRU, Dhaka, Paper no T23,
Bangladesh                                                working_papers/WP-T23.pdf
  Iversen V. 2005. Autonomous and Other Child Labour          29
                                                                   Rao 2009
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                                                                Hashim IM 2005;
     Ibid.                                                    Thorsen D. 2005. Looking for Money While Building Skills
                                                              and Knowledge: Children’s Autonomous Migration to Rural
     Khair 2008
                                                              Towns and Urban Centres. Migration DRC Field Report
  Hashim IM. 2005. Children’s Independent Migration from      31
                                                                   Khair 2008
North-Eastern to Central Ghana. Migration DRC Research
Report,    32
                                                                   Rao 2009
reports/ImanReport.pdf; Kwankye et al. 2009                   33
     Iversen 2005                                             34
                                                                   Thorsen 2005
     Hashim 2005, Khair 2008                                  35
                                                                Hashim 2005;
  Thorsen D. 2007. ‘Ouagadougou-Abidjan: Growing into         Hashim IM. 2007. ‘Independent Child Migration and
Family Relations at a Distance?’ Presented at panel on        Education in Ghana’. Development and Change 38 (5)
‘Generations of Migrants in West Africa’ at Second Biennial   36
                                                                   Iversen 2005
AEGIS conference, 11–14 July, Leiden; Hashim 2006
                                                             Rao 2009
  Thorsen D. 2007. ‘If Only I Get Enough Money for a
Bicycle!’ A Study of Childhoods, Migration and Adolescent 38
                                                             Anthias P. 2008. Student Migration from Bangladesh to
Aspirations Against a Backdrop of Exploitation and        the UK. RMMRU Occasional Paper Series no 15
Trafficking in Burkina Faso. Migration DRC Working Paper  39
                                                             Migration DRC 2005. GATS Mode 4: How Trade in
no T21,
                                                          Services Can Help Developing Countries. Migration
                                                          DRC Briefing Paper no 4,

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                                                                Migration DRC 2007. Social Protection and Internal
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                                                              Avato, Koettl, Sabates-Wheeler 2009
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                                                                Barrientos S, Anarfi J, Lamhauge N, Castaldo A, Akua
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                                                              the Ghanaian Pineapple Sector. Migration DRC Working
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                                                              UNDP, Tirana,
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     Thorsen 2005                                             FINAL.pdf
     Kwankye et al. 2009                                      59
                                                                 Migration DRC, RMMRU. 2005. Report on the
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     Rafique et al. 2006; Kabir et al. 2008                   Bangladesh
     Gardner, Ahmed 2006                                      60
                                                                   Centre for Economic and Social Studies 2006
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                             Zlotnik H. 2003. The Global Dimensions of Female       73
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© Tian Zhan/shutterstock


The Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty is a research partnership led by the University
of Sussex, and brings together the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh; the University of Ghana, Legon; the Centre for
Economic and Social Studies, Albania; the American University in Cairo, Egypt; the University of East Anglia; and the
Institute for Development Studies.
Over the past six years, well over 100 people have been involved in conducting the research which makes up this
document. Their interactions have made the centre a productive and creative place to work. In particular the directors
of each partner centre and theme convenors have given generously of their time and efforts: CR Abrar, John Anarfi,
Ilir Gedeshi, Barbara Harrell-Bond, Stephen Kwankye, Janet Seeley and Nitya Rao, Rachel Sabates-Wheeler, Ronald
Skeldon and Ann Whitehead. Thanks must also go to the centre’s advisory board: Rahul Bose, Frank Laczko, Paulina
Makinwa-Adebusoye and Sharon Stanton-Russell, as well as research manager Meera Warrier. Finally we thank our
funders, DFID, especially Malcolm Worboys.
In addition, thanks go to all the migrants and their families, and to those who work with migrants and who have been
involved in the research, whether as interviewees or facilitating interviews, answering questions or filling out surveys.
Thank you for your patience.
DFID is not responsible for the contents of this research. Any comments on the research should be addressed directly to
the centre, at
Professor Richard Black
Director, Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty

The UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) funded the research in this document as part of
the United Kingdom’s overseas development programme. However, the findings, views and recommendations contained
in the document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of either DFID or other funders or
collaborating partners.

                                                                                                                            Cover photo: © Mark Henley/panos