Migration and Development Brief

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Migration and Development Briefs are prepared by the Migration and Remittances Unit, Development Economics (DEC). The brief aims to provide an update on key developments in the area of migration and remittance flows and related policies over the past six months. It also provides medium-term projections of remittance flows to developing countries. A special topic is included in each brief. The brief is produced twice a year.

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    COVID-19 Crisis Through a Migration Lens
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-04) World Bank
    The economic crisis induced by COVID‐19 could be long, deep, and pervasive when viewed through amigration lens. Lockdowns, travel bans, and social distancing have brought global economic activities to a near standstill. Host countries face additional challenges in many sectors, such as health and agriculture, that depend on the availability of migrant workers. Migrants face the risk of contagion and also the possible loss of employment, wages, and health insurance coverage. This Migration and Development Brief provides a prognosis of how these events might affect global trends in international economic migration and remittances in 2020 and 2021. Considering that migrants tend to be concentrated in urban economic centers (cities), and are vulnerable to infection by the coronavirus, there is a need to include migrants in efforts to fight thecoronavirus. Migrant remittances provide an economic lifeline to poor households in many countries; a reduction in remittance flows could increase poverty and reduce households’ access to much‐needed health services. The crisis could exacerbate xenophobic, discriminatory treatment of migrants, which calls for greater vigilance against such practices. This Brief is largely focused on international migrants, but governments should not ignore the plight of internal migrants. The magnitude of internal migration is about two‐and‐a‐half times that of international migration. Lockdowns, loss of employment, and social distancing prompted a chaotic and painful process of mass return for internal migrants in India and many countries in Latin America. Thus, the COVID‐19 containment measures might have contributed to spreading the epidemic. Governments need to address the challenges facing internal migrants by including them in health services and cashtransfer and other social programs, and protecting them from discrimination.
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    Migration and Remittances: Recent Developments and Outlook - Transit Migration
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-04) World Bank Group
    This Migration and Development Brief reports global trends in migration and remittance flows, as well as developments related to the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators for volume of remittances as percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) (SDG indicator 17.3.2), reducing remittance costs (SDG indicator 10.c.1) and recruitment costs (SDG indicator 10.7.1). This Brief has a special focus on transit migration.
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    Migration and Remittances, April 2018: Recent Developments and Outlook
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-04) World Bank Group
    This Migration and Development Brief reports global trends in migration and remittance flows, as well as developments related to the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators for volume of remittances as percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) (SDG indicator 17.3.2), reducing remittance costs (SDG indicator 10.c.1) and recruitment costs (SDG indicator 10.7.1). This Brief has a special focus on transit migration. Addressing the adverse drivers of transit migration will involve policy efforts to create economic opportunities and reduce conflict and fragility in migrants’ countries of origin. Opening more legal channels for migration to destination countries would also help reduce transit migration. Collaborative efforts among the origin country, the transit country, and the final destination country to control transit migration, however, should not violate free (intra-regional) movement of people under regional protocols. Respecting the human rights of transit migrants remain a policy priority. In situations where transit migrants stay on for protracted periods, there may be a need to provide access to education and health services, as well as to labor markets. For their part, origin countries need to empower embassies in transit countries to assist their nationals. Multilateral agencies can help the global community through the collection of data and also analytical and technical assistance in addressing the drivers of transit migration. They can also act as honest brokers to facilitate collaboration among the concerned parties. Multilateral development banks can also provide innovative financing solutions to transit countries.
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    Migration and Remittances: Recent Developments and Outlook
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-10-01) World Bank Group
    This Migration and Development Brief reports global trends in migration and remittance flows, major policy developments, and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators for reducing remittance costs and recruitment costs. The Brief reports new data on recruitment costs, a potential indicator for the SDG of promoting safe and regular migration. The special focus of the Brief is return migration, currently a challenging issue globally following the increase in asylum seekers and undocumented migrants.
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    Migration and Remittances, October 2017: Recent Developments and Outlook
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-10) World Bank Group
    This migration and development brief reports global trends in migration and remittance flows, major policy developments, and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators for reducing remittance costs and recruitment costs. The brief reports new data on recruitment costs, a potential indicator for the SDG of promoting safe and regular migration. The special focus of the brief is return migration, a challenging issue around the world amid a rise in asylum seekers and undocumented migrants.
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    Migration and Remittances, April 2017: Recent Developments and Outlook
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-04) World Bank Group
    This Migration and Development Brief provides an update on worldwide remittance flows and the global migration crisis. It focuses on two Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators: reducing remittance costs, and reducing recruitment costs for low-skilled migrants. In September 2016, the United Nations General Assembly Summit on “Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants” committed to develop two global compacts: a Global Compact on Refugees, and a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. Negotiations on both compacts are expected to continue through 2017, with final adoption expected at a United Nations international conference in 2018. The Brief reports on progress in the preparation of the global compacts, with an expanded discussion of the Global Compact on Migration.
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    Migration and Remittances: Recent Developments and Outlook
    ( 2015-04-13) Ratha, Dilip K. ; De, Supriyo ; Dervisevic, Ervin ; Plaza, Sonia ; Schuettler, Kirsten ; Shaw, William ; Wyss, Hanspeter ; Yi, Soonhwa ; Yousefi, Seyed Reza
    Using newly available census data, the stock of international migrants is estimated at 247 million in 2013, significantly larger than the previous estimate of 232 million, and is expected to surpass 250 million in 2015. Migrants’ remittances to developing countries are estimated to have reached $436 billion in 2014, a 4.4 percent increase over the 2013 level. All developing regions recorded positive growth except Europe and Central Asia (ECA), where remittance flows contracted due to the deterioration of the Russian economy and the depreciation of the ruble. In 2015, however, the growth of remittance flows to developing countries is expected to moderate sharply to 0.9 percent to $440 billion, led by a 12.7 percent decline in ECA and slowdown in East Asia and the Pacific, Middle-East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The positive impact on flows of a robust recovery in the US will be partially offset by continued weakness in Europe, the impact of lower oil prices on the Russian economy, the strengthening of the US dollar, and tighter immigration controls in many source countries for remittances. Remittance flows are expected to recover in 2016 to reach $479 billion by 2017, in line with the more positive global economic outlook.
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    Migration and Remittances: Recent Developments and Outlook
    (Washington, DC, 2014-10-06) World Bank
    Remittances to developing countries are projected to grow by 5.0 percent to reach US$435 billion in 2014 (accelerating from the 3.4 percent expansion of 2013), and rise further by 4.4 percent to US$454 billion in 2015. In 2013, remittances were more than three times larger than ODA and, excluding China, significantly exceeded foreign direct investment flows to developing countries. Growth of remittances in 2014 is being led by three regions: East Asia and the Pacific, South Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
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    Migration and Development Brief, No. 20
    ( 2013-04-19) Aga, Gemechu Ayana ; Eigen-Zucchi, Christian ; Plaza, Sonia ; Silwal, Ani Rudra
    Officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries reached an estimated $401 billion in 2012, growing by 5.3 percent compared with 2011. Remittance flows are expected to grow at an average of 8.8 percent annual rate during 2013-2015 to about $515 billion in 2015. Employment conditions in the United States (U.S.), including for migrants are improving, as also reflected in the quota for H-1B visas being rapidly filled for fiscal year 2014. Political momentum behind immigration reform in the US is growing. Average remittance prices were broadly unchanged at just above 9 percent over the last year, while the weighted average dropped in the first quarter of 2013 to an all-time low of 6.9 percent. While this suggests progress in reducing prices in high volume remittance corridors, prices continue to remain high in smaller corridors, affecting countries that have greater dependence on remittances. Migration and remittances are being featured in ongoing discussions on the millennium development goals and the post-2015 agenda.
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    Remittances to Developing Countries Will Surpass $400 Billion in 2012
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-11-20) Ratha, Dilip ; Aga, Gemechu Ayana ; Silwal, Ani
    The officially recorded remittances to developing countries are expected to reach 406 billion dollar in 2012, up by 6.5 percentage from 381 billion dollar in 2011. The true size of remittance flows, including unrecorded flows through formal and informal channels, is believed to be significantly larger. Compared to private capital flows, remittance flows have shown remarkable resilience since the global financial crisis, registering only a modest fall in 2009, followed by a rapid recovery. The size of remittance flows to developing countries is now more than three times that of official development assistance.