What does the report tell us about the links between migration and development?
The findings of this report suggest that the development potential embodied in migration is not being fully exploited in Armenia. Taking migration into account in a range of policy areas can allow this potential to be tapped. The report demonstrates the two-way relationship between migration and public policies by analysing how migration affects key sectors - the labour market, agriculture, education, and investment and financial services (Chapter 4) - and how it is influenced by policies in these sectors (Chapter 5). Some of the key findings are highlighted below.
Labour market policies can curb emigration
Many Armenians leave for better employment opportunities and higher wages in destination countries. The IPPMD survey confirms that almost all Armenian emigrants are of working age, and the majority have left the lowest skilled jobs in agriculture and the construction sectors.
Other aspects of migration have an impact on the labour market. The research found that receiving remittances has a negative influence on households' labour force participation. Households receiving remittances tend to have a lower share of working members than households not receiving remittances (Figure 1.5). On the other hand, remittances encourage self-employment by women in rural areas. Similarly, return migration tends to boost self-employment in rural areas for both men and women.
Figure 1.5. Households receiving remittances have fewer working members
Share of household members aged 15-64 who are working (%)
Note: The sample excludes households with return migrants only and immigrants only. Source: Authors’ own work based on IPPMD data.
How are Armenia’s labour market policies affecting migration? The Armenian government is increasing its attention to vocational education and training (VET) to improve skills. Can VET enable people to find a (better) job in Armenia and reduce the need to emigrate? The IPPMD survey found that people - and especially men - who had completed vocational training were less likely to plan to emigrate. Given that the propensity to emigrate is higher among the lowest skilled occupational groups, vocational training programmes could be promoting upward labour mobility and reducing incentives to look for jobs abroad. This pattern differs from that found among the other IPPMD partner countries, whereby vocational training programmes appear to be helping would-be migrants to be more employable overseas.
The IPPMD research also finds that government employment agencies can curb emigration by providing people with better information on the Armenian labour market. The share of people with plans to emigrate is much lower among the beneficiaries of government employment agencies than non-beneficiaries. However, the share of people in the sample finding work through these agencies is very low - at 2%. Public employment programmes (PEPs) do not seem to have a link with migration, most probably because of the low take-up ratio (less than 1%).