Example Economics Essay:Extent to which international migration is likely to promote economic development

Example Economics Essay:Extent to which international migration is likely to promote economic development
This paper discusses the extent to which international migration is likely to promote economic development. International migration may be both outward and inward. The loss of nationals is sometimes referred to as the ‘brain drain’ and suggests the loss of younger, talented professionals who will not be contributing to domestic development, and who, in addition, have taken money out of the developing economy through investment in their education and training. These individuals may send remittances back to their home country, which may provide more income (and foreign currency) than lower paid domestic employment or unemployment, and they may also learn skills that they bring back to their country of origin. Generally, however, ‘brain drain’ is thought to be detrimental to the home economy. Developing economies may experience a temporary inflow of employees of multi-national corporations (MNCs) and workers with aid organizations, which will raise productivity by introducing skills and knowledge to the benefit of the host economy. The outcomes of international migration are presented as viewed from the standpoint of a developed country.
International migration is an integral part of income growth for all countries, and is an important part of migration in many less developed countries, with the numbers of people involved in international migration moving from around 80 million in 1965, to upwards of 185 million in 2005 (Taylor, 2006). As international migration is now widely understood to have the potential to contribute to development, most governments and policymakers are looking for ways through which its benefits can be maximized. Migration is shaped by both economic development and economic underdevelopment, with migration, in turn, shaping economic development. For less developed countries, this interdependence is of interest, as policies could be developed to enhance the potential for migration to contribute to economic development i.e., to use migration as a development tool, by, for example, reducing the costs of remittance transactions or by leveraging remittances so that more of the remittances can be used for improving welfare and stimulating investment in migration-source areas (Taylor, 2006).

This use of remittances as a development tool is of particular importance, as remittances (i.e., the transnational flow of money earned by migrants abroad) are a major global economic resource, with the value of remittances having doubled during the 1990s to well over $105 billion annually , which is twice the total level of international aid (Vertovec, 2007). Nowadays, with the realization that remittances are a major global economic resource, policymakers have come to realize that transnational ties condition migration, and so migrant transnationalism has been a subject of much research interest, with a recognition that circular migration (i.e., the movement of migrants to-and-fro between their homelands and their foreign places of work) could be a win-win situation for both sending and receiving countries, with receiving countries being able to deal with labour shortages, by using immigrant labour, and sending countries guaranteeing remittances to help with economic development (Vertovec, 2007).

The United Nations (2006) recognizes that the understanding of international migration and its connection to economic development might be best understood in terms of circular migration, stating, “the old paradigm of permanent migrant settlement is progressively giving way to temporary and circular migration”, with obvious potential for development in the sending and receiving countries that this type of migration offers, with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) suggesting that circular migration is a development opportunity for those developing countries which send migrants, and that, as such, as part of a program for development, migrant receiving countries should allow repeat, temporary migrations and should also give incentives to migrants, such as allowing them to return to the same job (Vertovec, 2007).

A case study from Morocco illustrates this idea. Available evidence from Morocco shows that migration and remittances have improved living conditions and income levels in migrant-sending areas, which has transformed these areas in to prosperous areas that now attract internal ‘reverse’ migrants (de Haas, 2007). However, the idea of remittances as a panacea for development has not played out in Morocco, as there are several structural constraints to the development potential of these remittances, namely that the impacts of migration change with time and depend on the socio-ethnic origin of the migrants, some of which use the remittances to retreat from, rather than to invest in, economic activities at a local level, such that development in migrant-sending regions seems to be, at least in the Moroccan case, a pre-requisite for return to an area, and investment in that area, rather than a reason for migrating in the first place

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