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Interactions and complementarities of objectives

Each objective developed in this chapter responds to a specific policy challenge: regulation, integration and development. But each policy challenge also interacts with the others (see Figure 0.1). A comprehensive governance framework therefore needs to include all three objectives and consider their complementarities (Figure 5.5).

Figure 5.5. The complementarity of objectives

A more flexible regulation of migration means that the number of undocumented immigrants would significantly decrease, while circular migration would increase.17 As a result, countries of immigration could better tackle the integration challenge. Fewer undocumented immigrants imply less human trafficking, labour informality and ghettoisation, which would eventually help raise the tolerance threshold in host societies. In addition, public authorities could better focus on the needs of immigrants, both temporary and permanent, while also taking into account the locally born. This is particularly important in developing countries with high levels of immigration.


Tackling the Policy Challenges of Migration © OECD 2011

Less restrictive migration policies would also contribute better to development in countries of origin. Temporary and circular migration programmes would in particular help origin countries benefit from migration by minimising the lost-labour effect, particularly in the agricultural sector. Circular migration indeed preserves the continuity of agricultural activities throughout the year, especially when agricultural cycles in the home and receiving countries happen at different times of the year. The opportunity of returning each season constitutes an additional income stability factor for migrants. The steady source of income also enables migrants to invest in their home countries.

Better integrated immigrants also have more opportunity to improve economic and social conditions in their communities of origin. In this respect, naturalisation policies constitute a good example of policies that contribute both to the integration of immigrants and to the development of the countries of origin, in particular by increasing the net positive impact of remittances. Obtaining host country nationality facilitates the integration of immigrants into the labour market for four primary reasons (OECD, 2010):

  • • Naturalised migrants have access to jobs from which previously they were excluded, in particular in the public sector;
  • • It is easier for firms to hire national rather than foreign workers;
  • • The fact that immigrants have a choice over naturalisation constitutes a signal to employers about the will to integrate (through language, customs), which are positive values of employability;
  • • N aturalisation facilitates greater investment in human capital, not only for immigrants who expect a higher return, but also for employers who see naturalisation as a guarantee of stability.

A better insertion into the labour market means immigrants benefit from not only more stable but also higher income, which they can then send home. This argument is nuanced, since a naturalised immigrant is more likely to have his family with him and as a consequence send less money back home. However, naturalised immigrants, and in a more general way well integrated immigrants, can be more inclined to send collective remittances through HTAs, and contribute to social and educational investment in their home communities. Likewise, high-skilled workers can integrate into professional or scientific diasporas and participate in local projects useful for development.

Finally, a better impact of labour mobility on development has a reverse effect. Indeed, more opportunities in home countries means return migration increases and the number of immigrants settling permanently decreases, thus facilitating both the regulation and integration processes.

To optimise complementarities between the three objectives defined in this chapter, and to maximise the benefits of migration, both for sending and receiving countries, policy makers need to revise the current governance framework. Chapter 6 argues that this is possible, by forming partnerships for better migration management and development.

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