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Migration and development

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Migration and development

Migration is recognised as a powerful - though challenging - development vehicle in both the country of origin and destination. As a global phenomenon, it cannot be managed by the EU alone, and to identify common interests and challenges, the EU dialogues with partner countries, including countries of origin and transit.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - migration and development: some concrete orientations (COM(2005) 390 final of 1.9.2005).

SUMMARY

Migration is recognised as a powerful - though challenging - development vehicle in both the country of origin and destination. As a global phenomenon, it cannot be managed by the EU alone, and to identify common interests and challenges, the EU dialogues with partner countries, including countries of origin and transit.

This Commission communication sets out practical ideas to help ensure that migration from non-EU countries has a positive impact on the development of those countries and, in particular, is as effective as possible in reducing poverty. These ideas include the following.

REMITTANCES (ANNEXES 2 AND 3)

Money sent home by migrant workers (remittances) represents a larger proportion of developing countries’ income than overseas development aid (ODA) from governments and agencies (such as Unicef). This private money, although no replacement for ODA, also helps development.

Suggested actions

  • Developing cheap, fast and secure ways to transfer money earned by migrant workers back to their country of origin. Ensuring EU money transfer operators are subject to strict rules is a step in this direction.
  • Enhancing financial intermediation by encouraging partnerships between micro-finance institutions and mainstream financial institutions. This could lead to improved access to banking and financial services in developing countries.

DIASPORA INVOLVEMENT IN THEIR COUNTRY’S DEVELOPMENT ANNEX 4)

Historically, diasporas (groups of migrants abroad) have played a key role in helping their country to develop. In addition to remittances (see above), the Commission sees their involvement as a potential motor for development.

Suggested actions

  • Helping developing countries to map their diasporas and build links with them.
  • Creating databases of the skills available in a diaspora abroad, where interested members could register.
  • Identifying the key contacts among the various organisations representing diasporas.

CIRCULAR MIGRATION AND RETURN HOME (ANNEX 5)

The Commission points out that when migrants return home, even briefly, they spread their skills, know-how and/or cultural attitudes. Thus, both circular migration and return can help moderate brain drain (when skilled/intelligent people emigrate).

Suggested actions

  • Giving priority to the further temporary employment of workers who have already worked on labour migration schemes and who returned home at the end of their contract.
  • Looking at aspects such as pension rights transferability.
  • Considering ways to ensure that professionals who have worked in the EU can keep in touch with their former colleagues so that they return home voluntarily and reintegrate successfully.

COUNTERING THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF BRAINDRAIN(ANNEX 6)

Migration may produce skills shortages in countries of origin, in sectors such as health.

Suggested actions

  • Limiting recruitment in countries and sectors with skills shortages.
  • Employing skilled professionals from developing countries in overseas-funded projects on the ground.

RELATED ACTS

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - The global approach to migration and mobility (COM(2011) 743 final of 18.11.2011).

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - Maximising the development impact of migration: The EU contribution for the UN high-level dialogue and next steps towards broadening the development-migration nexus (COM(2013) 292 final of 21.5.2013).

Last updated: 16.09.2014

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