GMPA: Global Migration Policy Associates

Migration Topics

(Research papers and policy briefs below)

History tells us that migration has been an essential ingredient of growth and development of many countries. However, the current migration and development discourse has focused attention on a few features of migration characterized as development links, and it has generally addressed the origin country side of the equation. This migration-development discussion often omits the key role and contribution of international labour and skills mobility that enables, sustains and advances economic and social development of destination countries. Lack of consensus on what is meant by the term 'development' and inadequate engagement of contemporary development actors compound the lacuna.

Nonetheless, economic, labour market and social trends suggest that migration today is a crucial element for economic growth and development in migrant destination/employment countries. For example, there is increasing evidence on job creation, business expansion and even differential GDP growth directly attributed to international migrant/immigrant presence in host countries.

Not addressing the full migration-development paradigm risks underestimating migration—labour and skills mobility—as a primary factor for economic integration, and thus an engine for promotion of growth and social welfare in destination countries. Misunderstanding this paradigm leads to perceiving and acting on migration as a problem of national security, a threat to employment and welfare of 'nationals,' a challenge to social and national cohesion, an economic and social cost,among other issues. Responses thus tend to focus on nationalist and restrictive policy formulations, this precisely when circulation of nearly all other aspects of economic and commercial activity—capital, goods, services, technology, knowledge—are necessarily internationalized and liberalized. And despite World Bank predictions that liberalizing global circulation of skills and labour would make a much greater contribution to world economic growth than the liberalization of trade.

Ultimately, consequences of misunderstanding the development-migration nexus result in reduced global welfare, violations of rights of persons, reduced productivity, lost opportunities for economic growth and development, and social disruption.

GMPA endeavours to conduct research to promote a fuller global understanding of the development-migration links r to elaborate appropriate policy and practice and ensure that migration indeed contributes fully to economic and social development both in the North and the South.


Focal Point contacts

Piyasiri Wickramasekara

Nicola Piper


Documents and Papers