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Home arrow Communication arrow Labor Intermediation Services in Developing Economies: Adapting Employment Services for a Global Age
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The Mobile: Economic Migrants

Migrating to find work, or work one can live on, is a dominant feature of most developing economies, whether migrating within or across countries. Mexico to the USA, Ukraine to the Russian Federation (and vice versa), Bangladesh to India may be the most famous and largest migration corridors, but migration is changing labor markets within and across developing countries more and more - Bangladeshis selling goods in India, Hondurans working the fields in El Salvador, Philippine maids in Saudi Arabia. In high-income developing countries in the Middle East, migrants are the majority of the labor force, and dominate low-skilled work. In some small nations, outmigration, particularly of the well educated, is startlingly high - West Bank and Gaza (68%), Guyana (57%), Albania (45%).19

The figures presented in Table 1.2 are intended to underscore why migration support services are or should be part of a mix of services to support employment in key developing countries.20 Table 1.2 presents migration in developing countries by number of persons within a country (stock) and rates as a percentage of the population - both for those leaving (emigration) and those coming in (immigration).

Table 1.2 Emigration and immigration rates - developing countries (total stock and % of population)

Region

Emigration

Immigration

Stock (in 1000s)

% of

population

Stock (in 1000s)

% of population

East Asia and Pacific

21.7 million

1.1

5.4 million

0.3

China

8,343.6

0.6

685.8

0.1

Philippines

4,275.2

4.6

435.4

0.5

Indonesia

2,502.3

1.1

122.9

0.1

Europe and Central Asia

43.1 million

10.7

27.3 million

6.8

The Russian Federation

11,055.6

7.9

12,270.4

8.7

Ukraine

6,563.1

14.4

5,257.5

11.6

Turkey

4,261.6

5.6

1,410.9

1.9

Kazakhstan

3,717.3

23.6

3,079.5

19.5

Latin America and the Caribbean

30.2 million

5.2

6.6 million

1.1

Mexico

11,859.2

10.7

725.7

0.7

El Salvador

1,269.1

20.5

40.3

0.7

Costa Rica

125.3

2.7

489.2

10.5

Middle East and North Africa

18.1 million

5.3

12.0 million

3.5

West Bank and Gaza

3,013.7

68.3

1,923.8

43.6

Jordan

733.6

11.3

2,973.0

45.9

Lebanon

664.1

15.6

758.2

17.8

South Asia

26.7 million

1.6

12.2 million

0.7

India

11,357.5

0.9

5,436.0

0.4

Bangladesh

5,380.2

3.3

1,085.3

0.7

Sri Lanka

1,847.5

9.1

339.9

1.7

Sub-Saharan Africa

21.8 million

2.5

17.7 million

2.1

Burkina Faso

1,576.4

9.7

1,043.0

6.4

Zimbabwe

1,253.1

9.9

372.3

2.9

Mozambique

1,178.5

5.0

450.0

1.9

Source: Migration and Remittances Factbook, World Bank 2011.

International migration data cannot keep pace with current flows. This World Bank data indicates that the highest emigration rates in both numbers and on a percentage basis are in Europe and Central Asia, but then Chinese migration follows in large volumes but particularly to the East Asia region, but this is much smaller as a percentage of the population (1.1%). Some of the countries with the largest emigration rates, such as the West Bank and Gaza largely to Israel, represent relatively small populations on a global scale, but significant ones to local economies.

Although foreign workers comprise significant segments of many developing and high-income economies, in only a few nations are these workers deemed eligible for and permitted access to information and services for better jobs and improving their human capital. Even internal mobility, information and support for workers to move from job-poor to job-rich areas are subject to constraints in countries such as China and those formerly associated with the Soviet Union. Chapter 4 will lay out more specific ways in which migration support services have been used in different developing countries to make migration safer, associated with better information, and occasionally more human capital-enhancing for economic migrants.

 
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