World Bank Promotes 'Circular Migration'
Ann De Ron
BRUSSELS, Jan. 18
(IPS) - Most migrants from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union would
prefer to spend shorter periods abroad and then return home, says a new World
The Bank is discussing the launch of pilot projects
with several European Union member states that encourage such 'circular
"Sixty to 75 percent of the migrants from
Bosnia/Herzegovina, Romania, Georgia, Bulgaria, the Kyrgyz Republic and
Tajikistan would prefer to leave their home country only temporarily and return
home fairly soon," the Bank says in its report 'Migrants and remittances:
Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union'.
The report was released
Tuesday at a policy dialogue organised by the European Policy Centre, the World
Bank and the King Baudouin Foundation in Brussels.
bilateral agreements for migration do not contain mechanisms to encourage
circular or repeated migration. If it is costly for potential migrants to apply
for a space on a temporary migration programme, they may well have an incentive
to remain abroad for longer periods than they prefer," said report editor Ali
Mansoor at the release of the report.
The current agreements also fail
to meet their objectives in other ways, says Mansoor, a former lead economist at
the World Bank and now finance secretary at the ministry of finance and economic
development in Mauritius.
"They cannot stem the current of illegal
migrants. Illegal migration has important disadvantages for both sending and
receiving countries, and the migrants themselves are more likely to be subject
to abuse. On top of this, the agreements are often not able to facilitate large
amounts of legal, unskilled migration."
An alternative framework
stimulating circular migration offers employers in receiving countries the means
to obtain affordable services while respecting the law in sectors where they
cannot find workers in their own countries, says the report.
illegal migration and the risk of abuse and meets the preference of migrants to
stay away from home shorter for periods, the report says.
can return more easily, it will help check brain drain and the negative social
consequences that result from long-term separation of families, the report says.
Combined with higher penalties for hiring undocumented labour, this could
decrease the demand for undocumented migrant workers and slow down
inter-regional labour movements, the report says.
can be at the same time a solution for the paradox that migrant receiving
countries need labour forces but do not want to take care of them," World bank
economist Bryce Quillin, co-editor of the report said at the policy dialogue
"We now need small-scale experiments with this type of
migration, and talks about this with EU member states are in an early stage," he
"Circular migration is indeed a promising idea," said Jean-Pierre
Bou, policy officer at the directorate-general for justice, liberty and security
at the European Commission. "We must invest in circular migration as an idea,
but there are also a number of traps. For instance, we must find incentives for
people to enter this type of migration, and to return back home."
stimulate this return, the World bank proposes that pension benefits be made
payable only in the country of origin.
"Until now the EU has mostly
concentrated on legal migration of skilled labour," says Bou. "We will indeed
also need unskilled workers, and therefore this World Bank report is very
Bou added: "It doesn't take rocket science to know that
Europe will need a lot of migrants. But they must come on the framework of a
well-organised procedure. The EU will have to look for the best way to attract
the people our labour market needs."
Bou says circular migration will
best be limited to specific areas like agriculture and personal care, because in
those areas there will not be too much
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