Migration, Better than Foreign Aid as Development Tool?

Migration may be a better tool for development than foreign aid, a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research shows.

The report suggests that migrants deliver tangible benefits to their home countries in more ways than foreign aid and investments can, Laura Chappell and Danny Sriskandarajah of the London-based think tank write on Times Online.

Remittances sent home by migrant workers have become one of the most flexible sources of income for poor countries during the financial crisis, the two fellows note. This unattached money, which goes directly to families, could prove critical in the global effort to improve the quality of life in developing countries.

Migrants, upon returning to their countries, also bring back with them new skills, resources and networks that can help promote trade and entrepreneurship in their homelands, the IPPR fellows argue.

Chappell and Sriskandarajah recognize that migration have negative impacts attached to it, including “brain dead.”

The fellows argue: “But the picture’s not all bad: the money, skills and ideas that migrants send home, or bring back with them, often outweigh the negative impacts. And the knowledge that a good education and skills can open up the chance to migrate provides a powerful incentive to young people to work hard at school and university.”

Migration and aid both have their place in development strategies, Chappell and Sriskandarajah say. However, they stress that “a change in approach — more support for migration and less focus on aid — is overdue.”

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.