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Tackling the policy challenges of international migration

The policy challenges of migration are closely related. Inefficient regulation can lead to integration problems and reduce the development potential of emigration. Likewise, the contribution of immigrants to the welfare of their countries of origin tends to be inversely proportional to the level of integration in host communities.

But despite these interactions, few countries address all three challenges - regulation, integration, development - together. Furthermore, the current governing system of international migration operates within a non-cooperative framework, which does not take into account the externalities of migration policies on other countries.

The book thus explores the feasibility of implementing a coherent governance framework centred on three complementary objectives: i) a more flexible regulation of international migration flows; ii) a better integration of immigrants in developing countries; and iii) a greater impact of labour mobility on development.

Figure 0.2. The governance of international migration: objectives

A more flexible regulation of international migration flows

  • • Because of demographic imbalances, industrialised countries face a growing need for foreign labour, at both the low and high ends of skill levels. A more flexible regulation would therefore benefit the countries of origin as well as those of destination.
  • • But even the partial withdrawal of migration restrictions would generate costs. Mechanisms are therefore required to compensate those who lose from immigration. A way to lower the adverse impact of immigration is through a system of tax-based compensations, which would finance social safety nets and training programmes.

A better integration of immigrants in developing countries

• South-South migration presents different challenges from South-North, and many countries in the South do not have adequate resources to deal with integration. But despite low financial and administrative capacity, an integration policy can be adapted with current budgetary constraints while maximising the benefits of immigration.

• Facing the challenges of integration entails focusing on three priorities: i) the protection of rights; ii) the fight against discrimination; iii) the incorporation of immigrants into society. The chapter highlights good international practices adopted by developing countries to address them.

A greater impact of labour mobility on development

  • • Policies to optimise the impact of labour mobility on development in migrant-sending countries should aim to minimise the lost-labour effect and maximise the remittance effect.
  • • To this end, public authorities should focus on four priorities: i) the consolidation of labour markets; ii) the accumulation of human capital; iii) the promotion of financial democracy; and iv) the strengthening of social cohesion.
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