ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 34
Financial Times  

Win-win for migrants and sending and receiving countries - report

Brussels - Migration can benefit both sending and receiving countries and reduce poverty among migrants if it is better coordinated between countries, according to a new World Bank report released this week.

Migration within and from the transition economies of Europe and Central Asia has been large and will likely continue to increase as declining birthrates across much of the region will lead to an increased demand for a young labor force, according to "Migration and Remittances: Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union."

It has been well publicized that migration to Western Europe has increased significantly over the past 15 years, with Western Europe receiving 42 percent of migrants from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as growing numbers of migrants from the former Soviet Union. What is less known is that on a globallevel, Germany and France are the only Western European nations in the top-ten migrant-receiving countries. Russia is number two, and Ukraine, Kazakhstan, andPoland are also in the top ten.

Russia attracts migrants from the rest of the former Soviet Union, primarily from the Caucasus and Central Asia, and poorer Central Asian workers migrate to resource-rich Kazakhstan. Ukraine and Poland both serve as transit points for migrants on their way to Western Europe.Remittances are one consequence of migration that benefit both the migrants' families and their home countries. For many of the poorest countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia they are the largest source of outside income and have served as a cushion against the economic and political turbulence of the past 15 years. Remittances represent over 20 percent of GDP in Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina and over 10 percent in Albania, Armenia, and Tajikistan.

To ensure that migration benefits both sending and receiving countries and the migrants themselves, countries could more closely coordinate their policies so that the supply of migrant labour can meet demand through legal channels that respect the rights of migrants and are politically and socially acceptable to migrant-receiving countries.

"Existing bilateral agreements can be improved to facilitate migration in the region by matching the supply of migrant labour with the demand through economic incentives," explains Bryce Quillin, World Bank Economist and co-author of the report.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.