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Why the world needs a new wave of migration

1 June 20230 comments

A new wave global mass migration may be the answer to some of the massive challenges humanity currently faces, according to a new report form the World Bank.

The ‘World Development Report 2023’ says that as the world struggles to cope with global economic imbalances, diverging demographic trends, and climate change, migration will become a necessity in the decades to come for countries at all levels of income.

“If managed well, migration can be a force for prosperity and can help achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” the report says.

The report proposes an integrated framework to maximize the development impacts of cross-border movements on both destination and origin countries and on migrants and refugees themselves.

The framework, drawn from labour economics and international law, rests on a “match and motive” matrix that focuses on two factors: how closely migrants’ skills and attributes match the needs of destination countries and what motives underlie their movements.

“This approach enables policy makers to distinguish between different types of movements and to design migration policies for each. International cooperation will be critical to the effective management of migration,” the report says.

The report characterises migration is a development challenge.

“About 184 million people—2.3 percent of the world’s population—live outside of their country of nationality. Almost half of them are in low- and middle-income countries,” it says.

At the core of the plan is demographic change across the world.

There is a scarcity of people who can work and have the skills to do so.  This is because there is decline in the working population in high-income countries, leaving behind an ageing population to be taken care of.

In middle-income countries, the population is getting older before they attain a certain income level.

And in the countries where the population is booming, mostly in Africa, the working group lacks the skills to exploit this void.

“The main difference between a migrant and a non-migrant is citizenship (or lack thereof) of the destination country and its associated rights. Once a migrant is naturalized, they no longer are a migrant: they face the same challenges and opportunities as other citizens—albeit in some cases with the added difficulties encountered by national minorities,” the report said.

It says there is a need to recognise the complexity and the increasing necessity of cross-border movements.

“About 2.3 percent of the world’s population—184 million people, including 37 million refugees—live outside their country of nationality. Some 43 percent live in low- and middle-income countries,” the report says.

“Many countries, at all income levels, are both the origin and destination of migrants at the same time. Because of demographic divergences and climate change, migration will become increasingly necessary over the next decades for countries at all income levels.”

The report says there is also a need to distinguish between various types of movements to identify appropriate policy responses.

“How well migrants’ skills and attributes match the needs of destination countries largely determines the economic effects of their movements. The motives underlying movements determine destination countries’ obligations under international law,” it says.

Maximising net gains when people bring skills and attributes that strongly match the needs of their destination society is also a priority identified in the report.

Also, is providing international protection to refuges in a manner that can be sustained, financially and socially,because most refugee situations last many years.

The report calls for migration to be managed strategically— in both origin and destination countries.

Governments in origin countries should make labour migration an explicit part of their development strategy, while governments in destination countries should use “strong match” migration to meet their labour needs,” the report says.

It also calls for changes to the way cross-border movements are managed.

Bilateral cooperation should be used to strengthen the match of migrants’ skills and attributes with the needs of destination economies,” the report says.

“Organise regional and global responses to address refugee movements and reduce the need for distressed movements. Develop new and predictable financing instruments. And listen to voices that are currently underrepresented in many policy debates.”

Read the full report: World Development Report 2023: Migrants, Refugees, and Societies (