The positive contribution of migrants to development can be facilitated by a suitable policy framework. Migration and development is a key pillar of the Global Approach to Migration, the external dimension of EU migration policy. The EUs initiative on Policy Coherence for Development, including a focus on migration, has improved the attention to migration from a development perspective as well as to its contribution towards the Millennium Development Goals. Biannual reports monitor work in this regard at the EU level and in EU Member States, and a new report is being prepared during 2011.
Migration and development is a complex issue area where policy needs to be based on sound evidence. There is a need for further improvement of the evidence base in many countries around the world, e.g. basic data on migration patterns, remittance flows, brain drain and brain gain, diaspora engagement and investments, the role of migration in the national labour market, family, social and gender dimensions of migration. The EU is supporting the development of Migration Profiles together with partner countries in order to strengthen the role of such information for migration and development policies. For similar reasons, and to emphasise the importance of South-South migration, the EU also supports the ACP Observatory on Migration.
Measures to counteract “brain drain” while facilitating the mobility of skills and diaspora engagement in country of origin development remains an overall policy goal for the EU. The EU and its Member States support the WHO Global Code of Practice on the international recruitment of health personnel. A recent initiative together with the WHO aims to strengthen Moldovas capacity to manage the migration/mobility of Moldovan health professionals and to establish a framework for the legal migration of health workers between Moldova and the EU.
The EU recognises the development impact of remittances in migrants countries of origin. It encourages all countries to reduce the cost and improve the safety of transfers, and to support the migrants initiatives with a view to reinforce the impact of remittances on economic and social development at a wider level. Some EU Member States implement programmes in partner countries aiming at developing the financial sector (e.g. microfinance, technical assistance on financial sector regulation and supervision) and improving financial literacy, in order to familiarise households receiving remittances with banking services.
The EU also encourages partner countries to address gender equality and empowerment of women to reinforce the development impact of remittances. Cooperation and dialogue between governments and the civil society can also play an important role in empowering migrants.
Migration can be beneficial to both migrants, and to their source and destination countries. The EU 2020 Strategy for sustainable and inclusive growth is responding to a changing world order and ppopulation ageing in Europe. A forward-looking and comprehensive labour migration policy is one of the measures that will enable the EU to respond to the needs of its economy and society. Well integrated migrants will be able to contribute to development in their country of residence as well as in their country of origin. The EU is further advancing its legal framework with specific provisions for the highly skilled, seasonal workers, and professionals that are transferred within companies.
The EU Member States support developing countries in providing data on skills and qualifications to facilitate labour matching, with projects or legislation to facilitate circular migration, and by measures to improve the recognition of foreign qualifications and portability of social security entitlements.
In order to increase the contribution of migrants to development, more attention might be needed to the role of migrant entrepreneurs, the private sector and the recruitment industry in international migration, or the downside effects and social costs of migration for the migrant, the household or the communities involved.
Irregular migration is an obstacle to the full participation of migrant workers in the social and economic life of countries of destination. It often makes migrants victims of loan sharks, organized crime and abusive working conditions. Governments need to work together in order to offer migrants better alternatives, either at home by improving the conditions for job creation and decent work; for rights, rule of law and security; or by assisting migrants to find and use the available legal migration opportunities. A key point is reducing the demand for irregular immigration by stepping up actions against employers in the grey economy.
Finally, sufficient capacities, coordination, cooperation and coherence are also of key importance to governments that aspire to maximise migrations development benefits and minimise its downsides. The EU is therefore also working closely together with partner countries in providing support to such capacity building.