International development is facing a number of significant challenges in the contemporary period. These range from escalating environmental decline that has led ecologists to question the wisdom of pursuing development to a rise in nationalist and realist forces that are contributing to a more unstable global security framework.
In this context, development becomes less of a priority on the international agenda, which is arguably reflected in a reduction in levels of aid spending on the part of some states. It is likely therefore that developing countries will increasingly have to generate their own development income. For this reason, policymakers are highlighting the need to focus on economic migration. Indeed, in 2015, the developing world received $441bn in remittance income from their citizens working abroad. This figure is three times the amount that states donate in international aid and forms a major source of investment for many developing countries.
However, a number of developed nations are making it increasingly difficult for economic migratory processes to operate by strengthening domestic border controls. In addition, many migrant workers are working in difficult and often hostile conditions, and frequently subject to forms of discrimination. Moreover, the amount of remittances being sent to the developing world would be greater were not for financial institutions and agencies charging transaction fees that can range from 1 to 20 per cent, and in some cases even higher.
In sum, we need to explore ways of enhancing and deepening the interrelationship between economic migration and development. And this task is undertaken in the FPO policy briefing entitled – ‘Economic migration and development: strengthening the linkages’.
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