Home Political science Development Centre Studies Tackling the Policy Challenges of Migration : Regulation, Integration, Development.
Strengthening social cohesion
The fourth priority of migration-based development strategies should be aimed at strengthening social cohesion, not only in the countries of destination (see Chapter 3), but also in the countries of origin. Policies linking migration and development tend indeed to focus on economic rather than social outcomes. Policy agendas give priority to the productive use of remittances and the return of talent, but tend to forget the social repercussions of emigration, particularly for those left behind (see Chapter 4).
By generating problems related to social cohesion, family disintegration not only affects migrant communities, but also entire countries (see Box 4.2). For this reason public authorities need to apply adequate and timely solutions to a problem that will be growing as the care drain phenomenon continues to gain amplitude:
But emigration not only generates social costs; it also represents an opportunity to strengthen social cohesion in sending countries. The links discussed earlier with diasporas can also generate social capital (Guarnizo, 2003).14 In addition to brain circulation, diaspora links help attract collective remittances. These funds, raised by HTAs or channelled through Internet community networks, are used to finance local initiatives, particularly infrastructure and educational projects.
Remittance-related programmes, such as those implemented by Mexico15 and El Salvador,16 have the advantage of enabling migrants to contribute not only to the welfare of their own families, but also to the improvement of the economic and social conditions in their local communities. The state can take advantage of the implication of migrant associations to increase public investment projects in the areas that need it more, in particular social protection programmes. By serving as a stimulus for the government to act the effect of collective remittances can be leveraged on both social cohesion and development.
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