"Immigration is the big issue right now.

Earlier today, the Senate voted to build a 370-mile fence along the Mexican border. ... Experts say a 370-mile fence is the perfect way to protect a border that is 1,900 miles long."

Sri Lanka is home to obtaining the largest per capita remittances in South Asia. On average the remittances per person in Sri Lanka were US$131 compared with the average for South Asia of US$33, UNDP Resident Representative Neil Buhne said, which meant it was 8 times higher. This latest revelation was made when presenting the findings of the 2009 Human Development Report (HDR) held at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations in Colombo yesterday. Migration for employment mostly by females is high in Sri Lanka who work as domestic help workers in most Middle Eastern countries that has increasingly contributed towards the country s remittances over the years.

Remittances are very significant for several nations in the region, most notably found to be in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka where they constitute about 16%, 10% and 8% of GDP respectively. In 2007, US$2,527 million in remittances were sent to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka s Human Development Index (HDI) has risen by 0.6% to 0.7% which gives the country a rank of 102 out of 182 countries with data. This index is an indicator of the people s well-being, combining measures of life expectancy, literacy, school enrolment and GDP per capita.

He projected that the future labour force is expected to increase till 2025 with particular emphasis today being on increasing the migration of skilled workers and reducing the outflow of low skilled workers including women workers who are employed as housemaids.

The increased international mobility of people is an important aspect of globalization. In 1985 1990 the annual rate of growth of the world s migrant population was 2.6 percent, more than twice the level recorded in the 1960s. There was a certain slowing of migration in the first half of the 1990s as the result of restrictions introduced by many high income countries, but beginning in 1997 98 the flows of migrants accelerated again. The major destination countries, rated by the size of migrant inflows in 2000, are the USA, Germany, Japan, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Rated by the share of the foreign and foreign-born population in the total population, the leaders are such traditional immigration countries as Luxembourg, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, the USA, Austria, and Germany, while in Japan and Italy, the new immigration countries, the proportions of foreigners are still relatively low.

Over 60 percent of the world s migrants moved from developing to developed countries, and this South-North migration is expected to grow in the future owing to economic as well as demographic reasons. The enormous and still growing gap between per capita incomes in developed and developing countries, the rapid population growth in developing countries with job creation failing to keep pace, the aging of developed countries populations with a resultant reduction in the size of their labor force, and the declining costs of migration (information and transportation costs) all these factors are likely to contribute to a drastically greater supply of, and demand for, international migrants over the next several decades. Employment-related migration is on the rise relative to other types of migration, such as migration of refugees or people seeking political asylum. And workers moving from developing to developed countries tend to be clustered at the extremes of the skills and education ladder either more or less qualified than most residents of the host countries. A significant feature of recent years has been the particularly rapid rise in migration of qualified and highly qualified workers, most notably in response to labor shortages in the information and communications sectors of developed countries, but also in the research and development, health, and education sectors. For example, according to some estimates, there is a shortfall of some 850,000 IT technicians in the USA and nearly 2 million in Western Europe. Against this background, many high income countries are competing to attract the needed human capital and adjusting their immigration rules to facilitate the entry of ICT specialists, scientists, medical doctors, and nurses. At the other extreme, demand is also high for low-skilled foreign labor for tasks resistant to automation, such as care of the elderly, house cleaning, agriculture, and construction. There are reasons to believe that international migration of labor can be beneficial to both the receiving and the sending countries. While in the receiving countries migrants help meet labor shortages in certain industries, the sending countries benefit from easing of unemployment pressures and increased financial flows in the form of remittances from migrant workers to their families staying behind. Remittances to developing countries increased by more than 20 percent during 2001 03 and reached $93 billion, which was about one-third more than the total sum of official aid received from developed countries. However, concerns are growing about the damage done to the development aspirations of the poorer countries by emigration of the most qualified professionals the so-called brain drain. Professionals from the developing world contribute to expanding knowledge based industries in highincome countries, while their countries of origin struggle with a shortage of qualified staff to provide basic health and education services and find themselves unable to reach the critical threshold levels of research and development staff needed to succeed in the most productive, high technology industries. At the same time, increased immigration from developing countries remains a politically sensitive issue in receiving countries, with some real issues related to cultural assimilation of foreigners as well as some exaggerated fears and misconceptions.

Dealing with all the stresses of increased international migration is a global challenge, requiring closer cooperation between sending and receiving countries. Solutions should take into account the interests of all the countries involved as well as those of the migrants themselves. For example, tighter controls on labor migration introduced in one receiving country will affect not only the sending countries but also other potentially receiving countries. In many cases it can also lead to higher illegal migration, most often associated with discriminatory and exploitative treatment of migrant workers. The advice currently offered to developed and developing countries on managing international migration flows is incomplete and sometimes disputable. For example, developing countries are advised to develop mechanisms for encouraging retention and return migration of their qualified workers. Returning migrants bring back foreign knowledge and experience (converting brain drain into brain circulation ) and can play an important role by facilitating the transfer of foreign technologies or by helping the development of cultural and economic ties with other countries. Further, developing countries are advised to facilitate and reduce the cost of remittance of funds by their migrant workers. Because migration is generally easier for university graduates than for the less educated, the argument, as Adiseshiah (1972) puts it, is that for many countries, education is not the road to development but the road to migration. However, others, like Mountford (1997) and Stark et al. (1998), argue that the emigration of the highly educated may lead to brain gain if the return to education is higher overseas than at home, thus leading to higher returns to human capital, and thereby enhancing further investment in human capital. As for developed countries, they are counseled to improve their immigration laws, policies, and practices for ensuring orderly migration and to strengthen enforcement of minimum labor and workplace standards so as to discourage illegal migration and employment. To ease the political tensions and to facilitate the integration of immigrants, governments are advised to assist the latter in learning the language of the host country and to fight all forms of racism and discrimination (in employment, housing, schooling, and all other areas). it is also suggested that both developing and developed countries should encourage temporary rather than permanent migration, so as to allow sending countries to benefit from the new knowledge and skills of returning migrants and simultaneously reduce some existing anxiety in receiving countries. International migration, in many important cases, such as cross-country differences in productivity, can be a complement to international flows of commodities. In the presence of a productivity difference that is generated by an external economy effect of human, capital physical capital has weak incentives to flow from developed to underdeveloped countries while pressures for international migration from poor to rich countries are strong. The balancing factors underlying an efficient global dispersion of population are those which generate advantages to size, such as public goods, or increasing returns to scale on one hand, and those which generate disadvantages to size, such as immobile factors or congestion effects in the utilization of public services, on the other hand. The modem welfare state typically redistribute income from the rich to the poor in a way which attracts poor migrants from the

less developed countries. Since migration could impose a toll on the redistribution policy of the Developed Country it may benefit from the extension of foreign aid to the Less Developed Country if this aid serves to finance a subsidy to workers in the Less Developed Country, thereby containing migration.

In theory, free labor mobility leads to efficiency gains and increases in world income. According to Rodrik (2002), liberalizing cross-border labor movements can yield substantial benefits to the world economy that may be almost 25 times larger than those that would accrue from free goods and capital flows, given the huge differential in the wage rates for similar skills in developing and developed countries. Thus, the potential benefits from migration are huge.

Addressing these problems requires new migration policies in both the hosting as well as the home countries, separately or collectively. Cross-border labor markets fail because of severe problems of information asymmetry, weak intermediation, and poor contract enforcement, all of which are exacerbated by concern for national sovereignty, high transportation and transaction costs, and other social factors. These problems cannot be resolved by market forces alone, nor can they be fully addressed by the private sector without a regulatory framework to protect workers and employers.

To maximize the returns on their investment in education, labor sending countries need to rethink their emigration policies. They could adopt transparent and predictable systems for licensing and supervising private recruitment agencies to combat recruitment malpractices. They could impose sanctions on fraud and safeguard against excessive placement fees. In addition, they could facilitate access to information about job opportunities and the rights and duties of migrants by establishing one-stop contract registration/processing centers. All of these actions may require the creation of a migration agency in charge of all migration issues: managing, coordinating, and supporting migrants. As for labor-hosting countries, clearly, temporary migration is important to their ability to use their capital fully and efficiently. To ensure that they are getting the most qualified workers at the lowest price, they need to revise some aspects of their migration policies. In the GCC, these include the kafeel system, the legal treatment of foreigners, and the way recruiting agencies function. In Europe and North America, temporary migration could be a solution to the problems of illegal migration, the aging of the population, and the scarcity of certain skills. Thus, it may be worth revisiting restrictive migration policies, which do not seem to have worked in the past. Collectively, both hosting and home countries could benefit from concluding bilateral or multilateral agreements on an orderly migration and return migration of workers. They could further coordinate their education systems to ensure that the graduates of the exporting countries have the skills most in demand in the host-country markets. Such agreements would by no means be easy, but they have the potential of being beneficial to both parties.

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