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International labour migration: trends, issues, impact and responses

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Presentation on theme: "International labour migration: trends, issues, impact and responses"— Presentation transcript:

1 International labour migration: trends, issues, impact and responses
Presentation: “Trade Union Training on Migrant Workers Rights & Promotion of Social Protection”, ILO-ACTRAV Workshop, August 2007, Jakarta ( ) By Piyasiri Wickramasekara Senior Migration Specialist International Labour Office Geneva ILO Migration programme website:

2 Structure of the presentation
Key messages Terminology Globalization and migration trends Selected issues Migration and development Protection of migrant workers Irregular migration Way forward

3 Key Messages Migration is not a problem, but a phenomenon as old as history. It is likely to increase in the future, not decrease. The issue is how to regulate or govern - and not how to stop – migration. Globalization has made least progress in relation to cross border mobility of people and labour. ILO and the international community now see migration as a positive factor benefiting both source and destination countries and migrant workers and their families. Respect for migrant rights is essential for ensuring and sharing benefits from migration. The world need more and better migration policies – not more and better controls and policing.

4 Let us get the terms right!
ILO dictum: Labour is a not a commodity; thus, labour exports-imports or exporting/importing inappropriate. Source and destination countries Stop labelling migrants Economic migrants; labour migrants; illegal migrants Labour migration- migrant workers, migrant labour correct terms. Every worker has a skill- there are no unskilled workers. Low skilled or semi skilled. Irregular migration and migrant workers in irregular status are the correct terms – not illegal, clandestine, undocumented. Combating, fighting irregular /illegal migration: avoid military jargon

5 International Migrants
Year Migrants (Millions) World Population (Billions) Migrant share of population % Women % of total migrants 1965 75 3.3 2.3 47.1 1975 85 4.1 2.1 47.4 1985 105 4.8 2.2 47.2 1990 120 5.3 49.0 1995 164 5.7 2.9 49.3 2000 175 6.0 49.7 2005 191 6.5 3.0 49.6 United Nations Department for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis, Population Division E/CN.9/1997/9: World demographic trends. Rep. of the Sec.Gen. MIGRATION Key indicators of trends in migrant stock, by region, 1965, 1975, 1985 and Estimated foreign-born population (thousands) As percentage of total population World total 35. Estimates of the stock of international migrants present in each country of the world as of the beginning of 1965, 1975, 1985 and 1990 have been derived from information on the size of the foreign-born population (or, in some cases, the foreign population) enumerated by the censuses of different countries and from information on the number of refugees present in developing countries. At the world level, the estimates obtained indicate that the stock of international migrants increased from 75 million persons in 1965 to 120 million by 1990 (table 5). Thus, over the whole period, the annual rate of growth of the migrant stock was 1.9 per cent. However, estimates of the rate of growth for intermediate periods indicate that the pace at which the world's migrant stock has been increasing has speeded up, passing from 1.2 per cent per year during to 2.2 per cent during and reaching 2.6 per cent over the period The experience of developed and developing countries contrasts markedly. Thus, whereas the annual growth rate of the international migrant stock in developed countries increased only moderately, passing from 2.3 per cent per annum during to 2.4 per cent during , that of the total number of migrants in the developing countries increased ninefold, rising from 0.3 per cent during to 2.7 per cent during 36. Despite the rapid growth in the number of international migrants in developing countries, by 1990 they accounted for only 55 per cent of the world's migrant stock, whereas developing countries accounted for 72 per cent of the world population. Consequently, the proportion of international migrants among the total population of developing countries remains low (1.6 per cent of the total). In contrast, international migrants constitute 4.1 per cent of the population of developed countries. Thus, proportionately, international migration continues to have greater numerical importance for the developed world. Persons outside their country of birth or citizenship. Source: UN Population Division

6 International migration is not only from poor to rich countries

7 International migration is a labour market and decent work issue
Total migrants (population resident outside their countries of origin) in 2005: 191 million – 3 per cent of global population. (UN Population Division) Total number of migrant workers (according to ILO estimates): about million. Total refugees in 2005: 13.5 million (10.8 in South (7.8mn in Asia; 3mn in Africa; 2.7mn in developed countries) Asylum seekers – about one million About 90% are migrant workers & their families. (roughly 170 million) Thus international migration is not asylum/refugee issue or security issue.

8 Global migration: Driving forces
Global Commission on International Migration: 3 Ds – Development, Demography and Democracy Demographic trends Population decline in developed countries Population ageing Disparities and gaps across countries Decent work deficits; employment, earnings, wages Human security: Armed conflict and war Human rights Globalization Social networks: family unification.

9 Source: Rainer Münz

10 From Rainer Münz

11 Migration and globalization
Globalization has diverse impact. migration-inducing Easier communication and cheaper travel High tech and specialized skills demanded worldwide Demand for low skilled and cheap labour Migration pressures increased due to widening gaps migration-reducing: Trade and investment FDI flows create jobs in countries of origin Virtual mobility reduces the need for migration. But international mobility of labour seriously constrained. Immigration policies in receiving countries: Right to leave any country, and the right to return home country fundamental human rights, but right of entry or admission, stay or work still the sovereign right of individual states.

12 Indicators of globalization (based on Mauro Guillen’s indicators) 1980
2004 Exports value as % of world GDP 38.8 48.8 (2003) FDI as % of world GDP 6.7 21.7 Cross border loan stock as % of world GDP 13.9 34.2 Internet users- % of world population Migrants as % of world population 2.2 2.9 (2005)

13 Problem areas in current global migration
Treatment & protection of migrant workers Growth of irregular migration “Brain drain” from developing countries, especially health care drain. Poor integration of migrants in host societies Poor governance of migration Lack of a multilateral framework most focus on control and prevention of migration – not management.

14 Migration and development
Increased emphasis on migration-development linkages Migration benefits all- World Bank simulation study 2006 (Global Economic Prospects 2006). $356 bil gain. Much more than from trade liberalisation. Remittances; official flows of $206 bil. In 2006; with informal bil. annually; more than double ODA Return migration and circulation – Skills, savings; social capital; investments Mobilising transnational communities Investments (overseas Chinese) Transfer of skills and technology Positive changes in policies; Indian economic reform Migration can help but not solve problem of decent work deficits and lack of development.

15 Global income gains from 3% increase in migration between 2001-2025 (Source: World Bank GEP 2006)
Category US dollars (Billion) Natives in high-income countries 139 Old migrants in high-income countries -88 Natives in developing countries 143 New migrants 162 Total 356

16 Remittances – the new “Development Mantra”
World Bank – important and stable source of development finance But remittances are private transfers – not a substitute for ODA (Official development assistance) or FDI (foreign direct investment) Current concerns High transfer fees and how to reduce them Maximising development impact of remittances

17 Financial flows to developing countries (in billion dollars)
Item 1995 2006e Remittances (recorded) 58 193 Official Development Assistance (ODA) 59 104 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) 107 325 Private debt & portfolio equity 126 318 Source: World Bank

18 Dilip Ratha, World Bank

19 Brain drain - highlights
In 2000 – 77 countries had 10% or more of the skilled work force overseas; 28 had 30% and above. Migration policies increasingly selective; favour skilled at expense of low skilled (Australia, Canada, Europe). Brain waste: lack of qualification recognition

20 Skilled and low skilled workers
The demand for migrant workers cuts across all skill categories (EU Policy Plan on economic migration). Global Commission on international migration; both are essential workers. Current policy favours skilled at the expense of low skilled workers leading to: Serious brain drain for developing countries Channelling a substantial number to irregular economy Prevents development benefits to the poor

21 Challenges in health worker migration
Uneven distribution: quality of health services declining when needs are increasing: HIV-AIDS crisis: 57 countries with critical shortages Countries with the lowest relative need have the highest numbers of health workers – WHO Difficulty of achieving millennium development goals: “Countries that are active supporters of the health and education objectives included in the UN’s Millennium Development Goals are nevertheless recruiting personnel from hospitals and schools in low-income countries that are unable to offer basic health and education services to their own citizens.” GCIM Fatal flows compared to other movements: health workers save lives! Fiscal burden on source countries in losing investments in human resources. Health workers in destination countries: protection problems. Few feedback effects; a vicious circle?

22 Source: WHO

23 Irregular migration Terms: illegal, clandestine, undocumented, irregular. Irregular migration and migrant workers in irregular status –preferred terms by international community. Dimensions: 15-20% globally Causes: Limited legal channels Migration barriers Demand side: Undeclared and underground work in receiving countries Political factors: Breakup of USSR- ‘borders cross people’ Problems: protection, management, security, unfair competition. Responses: Controls & sanctions; amnesties and regularisations; return policy; awareness creation on risks, etc. Workers in irregular status also have rights: UN Convention and ILO C.143: accrued wages and social security. Basic human rights; return in conditions of dignity.

24 Irregular migration & controls
Prof. Cornelius Wayne: the fortified US-Mexican border during nine years of operation has been ten times deadlier to migrants (with 2750 reported deaths crossing the border) than the Berlin Wall was to East Germans during 28 years (with only 239 deaths crossing the wall). Main consequences of 10 years of tighter US border control have been: redistribution of illegal entries; increased cost of illegal entry; more permanent settlement in U.S; higher mortality among illegal entrants; and increase in anti-immigrant vigilante activity. Batistella and Asis: ‘..experience shows that this approach {keeping our borders tightly guarderd} has not succeeded in keeping all unwanted persons out. It does succeed in rendering many unauthorized persons – who form the backbone in some sectors –without protection from insecurity and abuse Stepehn Castles on European controls: “Building walls (between the USA and Mexico) and increasing naval patrols (between the EU and Africa) increases the death rate and the smugglers’ profits, but does not solve the problem.”

25 “The vast majority of migrants are industrious, courageous, and determined. They don’t want a free ride. They want a fair opportunity. They are not criminals or terrorists. They are law-abiding. They don’t want to live apart. They want to integrate, while retaining their identity”. . United Nations (former) Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Address to the European Parliament upon receipt of the Andrei Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, Brussels, 29 January

26 ILO approach to labour migration
As a labour market and decent work issue; work with labour ministries Migration as a positive factor in development Tripartite approach to labour migration Rights based approach; pioneered international instruments; Multilateral framework on labour migration 2006. International cooperation

27 Migrant specific International Instruments
ILO Conventions the Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949 (No. 97) – 45 ratifications the Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 (No. 143) – 21 ratifications United Nations International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their families, 1990 – 36 ratifications. (in force since mid-2003) ILO multilateral framework on labour migration: non-binding- principles, guidelines and best practices

28 Migrant Stock in Asia 2005 Total (million) Female (mln) % female Asia
48.1 20.8 43.3 Eastern Asia 6.5 3.5 53.5 South Asia (with Iran) 13.2 5.9 44.5 South-east Asia 5.7 2.8 48.6 Western Asia (Gulf and ME) 22.7 8.7 38.4

29 Main features of Asian labour migration
Temporary labour migration regime Increasingly intra-Asian migration Feminisation Concentration of low skilled workers Brain drain High share of irregular migration: Thailand, Malaysia inflows. Highly commercialised private recruitment industry leading to governance concerns.

30 ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers - Significance
Emphasis on protection and promotion of rights – accords well with MLF Obligations on sending states, receiving states and ASEAN Recognises the contributions of migrant workers to the society and economy of both receiving states and sending states Intensify efforts to protect the fundamental human rights, promote the welfare and uphold human dignity of migrant workers; ASEAN: Promote decent, humane, productive, dignified and remunerative employment for migrant workers; develop an ASEAN instrument on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers. MLF can be a model.

31 Towards a sustainable labour migration regime
ILO Plan of Action & multilateral framework provide useful guidelines in all these areas. Criteria for a credible labour migration policy regime Consistent with protection of rights of migrant workers in line with international instruments. Based on recognition of mutual benefits,. In line with labour market needs with building of public consensus on need for migrant workers. Based on circulation and mobility-friendly migration policies. Based on bilateral, regional and international co-operation According greater role for social partners & civil society. Based on decent work for migrant workers. Facilitates migration by choice, not by need.

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