World Migration Report 2008

Managing Labour Mobility in the Evolving Global Economy

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The task of formulating workable approaches to the management of international migration remains a formidable challenge for the community, one that will require both time and effort over the coming years. In what terms are we to develop comprehensive migration management strategies that will help us achieve coherence of action? What organizing principles should be adopted? Is there, in conceptual terms, a point of leverage to move the debate forward? Part of the problem lies in the difficulty of coming to a consensus about the fundamental nature of migration and its outcomes. Underlying the current and welcome inclination to acknowledge the potentially beneficial outcomes of migratory phenomena are many questions that are yet to be fully resolved. In the midst of that uncertainty there are suggestions worth exploring that contemporary migration – as opposed to whatever its historical antecedents may have been – is uniquely related to and defined by those processes of economic and social integration collectively known as globalization. The argument is that, whether by design or not, these developments are largely responsible for the creation of an unprecedented context in which human mobility seeks to find expression on a genuinely global scale. The World Migration Report 2008 tackles this issue directly and seeks to identify policy options that might contribute to the development of broad and coherent strategies to better match demand for migrant workers with supply in safe, humane and orderly ways. Part A of the Report explores the nature and magnitude of the need for such strategies through the observation and analysis of a wide range of contemporary migratory patterns linked to economic purposes while Part B discusses the contours of possible policy responses.

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Human resource development and foreign employment policies in countries of origin

An increasing number of developing countries and countries with economies in transition have adopted or are seeking to adopt legislation and policies to take advantage of foreign employment opportunities for their citizens, while ensuring that safeguards are in place for the protection of their rights. For these countries, job creation at home remains, in theory at least, the preferred option, but labour migration is seen as an important and reliable vector of economic development through the remittances that workers send back home. At the individual level, with or without facilitation of the state, many people seek overseas employment opportunities to augment their income, improve the living conditions and life prospects of their families and acquire new skills and experience. However, while regular, albeit selective entry channels are available to skilled workers, this is often not the case for low and semi-skilled workers, who may be tempted to resort to irregular modes of entry and employment.

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