General Studies Paper 2
Context: Recently, the World Bank published the World Development Report 2023: Migrants, Refugees & Societies. The report estimated a 120% income gain for Indians who migrate to another country for work, compared to a 40% rise in the case of internal migration.
What are the Highlights of the Report?
- An Increase in Income: Under-skilled Indian citizens migrating to the US noticed a hike in their income of nearly 500%, followed by the UAE by almost 300%. Those migrating to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations other than UAE stand to gain less.
- Overview of Global Migration and Refugees: There are currently 184 million migrants globally, which is 2.3% of the population, including 37 million refugees. There are four types of migrants:
- Economic migrants with strong skill match (e.g., Indian IT professionals in the US or construction workers in GCC nations)
- Refugees with skills in demand at the destination (e.g., Syrian entrepreneurs in Turkey)
- Distressed migrants (e.g., Some poorly skilled migrants at the US southern border)
- Refugees (e.g., Rohingya in Bangladesh)
- Top Migration Corridors: India-US, India-GCC and Bangladesh-India have been identified to be among the top migration corridors globally along with Mexico-US, China-US, Philippines-US and Kazakhstan-Russia.
- Increase in Remittances: The remittances have increased to some of the countries with a large migrant population, including India, Mexico, China and the Philippines. India received the highest ever foreign inward remittances of USD 89,127 million in FY 2021-22. In 2021, total global remittances were estimated at USD 781 billion and have further risen to USD794 billion in 2022.
- A Decline in Working-Age Adults: The share of working-age adults will drop sharply in many countries over the next few decades. Spain is projected to shrink by more than one-third by 2100.
What are the Challenges in this Regard?
- Global Inequalities: As per the World Bank, migration issues are becoming even more widespread and urgent due to severe divergences between and within countries— in terms of real wages, labour market opportunities, demographic patterns and climate costs.
- Lack of Citizenship: A significant number of people do not have citizenship in the country where they reside. Less than half of the global migrant population, about 43%, live in low- and middle-income countries. This underscores the global nature of the issue of statelessness and highlights the need for action to address it.
- Distressed Migration: Some migrants move without skills that match the needs in the destination country and they are not refugees either. Such movements are often distressed irregular and take place under harrowing circumstances.
- Match-Motive Framework: The “match” aspect is grounded in labour economics and focuses on how well migrants’ skills and related attributes match the needs of the destination countries. “Motive” refers to the circumstances under which a person moves in search of opportunity. This determines the extent to which migrants, origin countries and destination countries gain from migration: The stronger the match, the larger the gains.
- Manage Migration Strategically: Origin countries should make labour migration an explicit part of their development strategy.
- Balancing Skill Demand and Social Inclusion: Destination countries should encourage migration where the skills migrants bring are in high demand, facilitate their inclusion and address social impacts that raise concerns among their citizens.
- Ensuring Protection: Provide international protection to refugees in a manner that can be sustained, financially and socially because most refugee situations last many years.
- Manage Cross-border Relations Differently: Bilateral cooperation can be used to strengthen the match of migrants’ skills and attributes with the needs of destination economies.