What role does migration play in national development strategies?

Despite its increasing social and economic importance, international migration has yet to be integrated into national development plans. Past national development plans barely mention migration. With the increasing economic opportunities and risks associated with migration, however, there has recently been a notable shift in development policy focus. In July 2013, the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) issued a guideline on the management of migration requiring the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MOLVT) to simplify the procedures required to emigrate, reduce recruitment fees, and improve monitoring of recruitment agencies (RGC 2013). It also requires that relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC), the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and the Ministry ofWomen’s Affairs (MOWA) enhance co-ordination and facilitation of all migration-related matters.

Migration is only now appearing in national development strategies

The National Strategic Development Plan 2014-2018 incorporates international migration to some extent. The following migration-related challenges and measures are outlined in the employment and labour market section:

  • • Improving institutional capacity and co-ordination for migration-related policy implementation; improving procedures for the management of Cambodian workers overseas, both legally and illegally.
  • • Enhancing the protection of rights, health and safety of Cambodian overseas workers; establishing a labour attache in Cambodian embassies.
  • • Developing a National Employment Policy with three strategic goals: (1) to increase decent and productive employment opportunities; (2) to enhance skills and human resources development; and (3) to strengthen labour market governance. One of the strategies to achieve the third goal is to oversee and protect migrant workers in obtaining decent employment and skill recognition.

At the sectoral policy level, the MOLVT’s Strategic Plans 2010-2013 and 2014-2018 view migration as an employment opportunity for the growing domestic labour force. The latest plan strives to improve the management of overseas employment services; create an employment permit system for Cambodian migrants; and protect migrant workers as a means to “promote” employment abroad.

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