The number of international migrants has more than doubled since 1965. According to the United Nations Population Division, 191 million people - that is about 3% of the world population - lived and worked outside their country of birth in 2005, as opposed to 75 million (2.3%) in 1965. Given the global demographic transition - shrinking and aging populations in the developed world juxtaposed with quickly expanding populations in the developing world - and given the economic gaps between the developed and the developing world, international migration is bound to increase in the future.
The Labor Markets Team has focused on identifying win-win-win situations for the developing and the developed world as well for migrants, so all can benefit from increased international labor mobility, skill transfers across borders, and remittances. In addition, migration as a Social Risk Management tool for households has been explored as well as risks for migrants - like human trafficking and exploitation. Finally, the access to social protection for migrant workers in host countries and the transferability of social security benefits back to the migrant’s home country have been assessed.
Future work on international migration of the Labor Markets Team will focus on portability issues of social security benefits for migrant workers and the question how active immigration policies in the developed countries can help the developed world to overcome future labor and skill shortages while at the same time enhance human capital formation in the developing world. Further, research will continue to explore the impact of migration on labor markets, in particular given the latest developments of the financial crisis. Against this background, migration and skills as well as labor markets in poor countries and South-South migration will be of special interest.
The Labor Markets Team conducts research on social protection for migrants. It focuses in particular on the portability of social security benefits. Recently, the work focused on social protection for migrants in the Southern African Development Community. This project was done in collaboration with the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) and co-funded by the UK Department of International Development.
The Labor Markets Team has worked on various topics related to labor markets and migration. It recently completed collaboration with the European Training Foundation (ETF) on migration and skills. The project has analyzed survey data on potential and return migrants from Albania, Moldova, Tunisia and Egypt; it was co-funded by the European Commission. Further, the Labor Markets Team has started to look into South-South migration and commissioned extensive research in this area under its Multi-Donor Trust Fund.
This research program seeks to fill the gaps in existing knowledge about migration. It includes extensive data-gathering and analysis on the development impact of migration, so as to identify migration policies, regulations and institutional reforms by developed and developing countries that will lead to improved development outcomes.
The migration program in the Poverty Reduction Group facilitates the analytical and operational activities on migration with emphasis on shared growth and poverty reduction issues. This website provides development practitioners with links to data sources, methodological notes and analytical products that can enhance the understanding of migration issues and strengthen the necessary policy dialogue.