Monday, January 29, 2007

World Bank to encourage 'Circular Migration'

World Bank Promotes Circular Migration
Ann De Ron

The World Bank is considering launching projects in the Eastern European region promoting “circular migration.” According to a recent World Bank study, almost three fourths of migrants from countries such as Bosnia/Herzegovina, Romania, Georgia and Tajikistan would prefer to return to their native countries after short stints abroad. However, according to the study, the current bilateral agreements for migration in Europe discourage migrants from returning home since applying for temporary migration programs is expensive and it takes time before a migrant can recoup costs associated with working abroad. The study suggests that circular migration will be best facilitated by the creation of laws that will allow countries to inexpensively seek foreign labor when there is a genuine shortage of labor, both skilled and unskilled, at home. Circular migration also will help native countries of migrant workers by reducing the incidence of brain drain.

However, other officials such as Jean-Pierre Bou, policy officer at the directorate-general for justice, liberty and security at the European Commission, warn that it is necessary to ensure that there are proper incentives “for people to enter this type of migration and to return back home.” To encourage migrant workers to return back to their native lands, the World Bank has proposed making pension benefits payable only in the country of origin.

1. How might circular migration promote economic growth and development in native countries?
2. In addition to making pension benefits payable in the country of origin, how might circular migration be encouraged?

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