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International Migration

International  Migration picture

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.

Ongoing Projects

Social Protection for Migrants ¦ Human Trafficking ¦ Labor Markets & Migration ¦ Related Links 

Social Protection for Migrants 

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.

Data

Bilateral migrant stocks worldwide, by portability regime (3mb xlsx) 

Related Papers

Social Protection for Migrants from the Pacific Islands in Australia and New Zealand (633kb pdf)
Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0912, May 2009
by Geoff Woolford

Regional Overview of Social Protection for Non-Citizens in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) (1.1mb pdf)
Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0908, May 2009
by Marius Olivier

Definitions, Good Practices and Global Estimates on the Status of Social Protection for International Migrants (426kb pdf)
Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0909, May 2009
by Johanna Avato, Johannes Koettl, and Rachel Sabates-Wheeler

Social Protection for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) (332kb pdf)
Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0906, April 2009
by Mpho Makhema

The Relative Merits of Skilled and Unskilled Migration, Temporary and Permanent Labor Migration, and Portability of Social Security Benefits (210kb pdf)
Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0614, November 2006
by Johannes Koettl under guidance of and with input from Robert Holzmann and Stefano Scarpetta

Portability Regimes of Pension and Health Care Benefits for International Migrants: An Analysis of Issues and Good Practices (391kb pdf). Also available in French (349kb pdf).
Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0519, May 2005
by Robert Holzmann, Johannes Koettl, and Taras Chernetsky

Background Papers

Portability of Social Security and Health Care Benefits in Italy (35kb pdf)
by Johanna Avato, March 2008

Portability of Social Security and Health Care Benefits in the United Kingdom (70kb pdf)
by Johanna Avato, March 2008

Access to Social Services for Non-Citizens and the Portability of Social Benefits within the Southern African Development Community (SADC): South Africa Country Report (259kb pdf)
by Mathias Nyenti, Meryl du Plessis and Lydia Akena Apon, September 2007

Access to Social Services for Non-Citizens and the Portability of Social Benefits within the Southern African Development Community (SADC): Zambia Country Report (77kb pdf)
by Makungo Muyembe, August 2007

Access to Social Services for Non-Citizens and the Portability of Social Benefits within the Southern African Development Community (SADC): Namibia Country Report (131kb pdf)
by Jonathan Adongo, September 2007

Access to Social Services for Non-Citizens and the Portability of Social Benefits within the Southern African Development Community (SADC): Botswana Country Report (99kb pdf)
by Dolly Ntseane and Kholisani Solo, August 2007

Access to Social Services for Non-Citizens and the Portability of Social Benefits within the Southern African Development Community (SADC): Malawi Country Report (92kb pdf)
by Institute of Policy Research and Social Empowerment (IPRSE), June 2007.

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Human Trafficking 

Human Trafficking and exploitation constitute particular risks for international migrants. Consequently, the Labor Markets Team started looking in the role of the World Bank in engaging in this topic.

Related Papers

Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery and Economic Exploitation (497kb pdf)
Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0911; Publication Date: 05/09
by Johannes Koettl

Slavery and Human Trafficking: International Law and the Role of the World Bank (456kb pdf)
Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0904, April 2004
by María Fernanda Perez Solla

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Labor Markets & Migration

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.

Related Papers

Migration, Labor Markets, and Integration of Migrants: An Overview for Europe (240kb pdf)
Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0807, April 2008
by Rainer Münz

The Social Assimilation of Immigrants (239kb pdf)
Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0701, February 2007
by Domenico de Palo, Riccardo Faini and Alessandra Venturini

Labor Market Outcomes of Natives and Immigrants: Evidence from the ECHP (331kb pdf)
Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0615, November 2006
by Franco Peracchi and Domenico Depalo

Demographic Alternatives for Aging Industrial Countries: Increased Total Fertility Rate, Labor Force Participation, or Immigration (247kb pdf)
Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0540, December 2005
by Robert Holzmann

Challenges and Opportunities of International Migration for the EU, Its Member States, Neighboring Countries and Regions: A Policy Note (683kb pdf). Also available in Russian (967kb pdf)
Institute for Futures Studies, 2nd Stockholm Workshop on Global Mobility Regimes, 2004
by Robert Holzmann and Rainer Münz

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Related Links 

International Migration & Development, World Bank Development Research Group

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.

 Migration & Development, World Bank Poverty Reduction Group

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.

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