A number of developing countries have become dependent on emigration and remittances

In some cases, developing countries see migration as a potential source of development finance, through private remittances, and have consequently geared part of their economies into maximising the return. This approach has been a trend in Asia, notably in the Philippines, but increasingly in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam as well. The Colombo Process has formalised co-ordination and information-sharing between these countries. In Latin America too, countries have become dependent on this model. In Honduras, Guyana, El Salvador and Haiti, remittances represent more than 15% of GDP. While most Latin American countries are highly dependent on the United States the migrant stock is gradually diversifying to include countries such as Spain, France and Canada.

At the other end, many countries struggling with reform have used migration as a safety valve to reduce internal pressure: emigration in the case of the labour market and remittances to fuel the economy. The 2009 drop in remittances, coupled with the enforcement of immigration restrictions in OECD countries, affected developing countries relying on this strategy. As policies become stricter, it will be increasingly harder to rely on a laissez-faire approach for a migration-for-development strategy, particularly as industrialised countries gradually turn to a points-system of immigration aimed at luring high-skilled migration and keeping lower-skilled migrants out.

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