Migrants worse off than other workers during recession, warns UN
UNITED NATIONS, Nov 5 (APP): The global economic crisis is adversely impacting on those who cross borders seeking better opportunities, a senior UN official said Thursday, noting that migrants are often the first to suffer job losses. “
impact is not the same in all countries and regions, globally speaking,
worsening economic conditions and more restrictive policies for labour
movements have led to a slowdown of migration and remittance flows,”
said Carlos Lopes, Executive Director of the UN Institute for Training
and Research (UNITAR) and Chair-in-Office of the Global Migration Group
Established in 2006, the GMG is an inter-agency effort aimed at
enhancing cooperation between UN agencies, the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) and the World Bank in the field of
international migration. Addressing the Global Forum on Migration and
Development, which opened Wednesday in Athens, Lopes noted that
remittances are a major source of foreign income for developing
countries, especially at a time when foreign direct investment (FDI)
has declined owing to the economic slowdown.
While remittances remain
relatively resilient, the World Bank forecasts that flows to all
developing regions will decline between 7 and 10 per cent in 2009.
“Many countries which depend upon these flows will be adversely
affected not only economically, but also socially. Households that
receive fewer remittances are under pressure to cut back on expenses.
“Too often this will negatively affect development outcomes, for
example in the area of children’s and especially girls education and
health, said Lopes. The recession has also led many States to adopt
restrictive requirements for obtaining entry, legal residence and work
permits. Lopes noted that curtailing regular migration tends to
increase irregular flows that are more risky for migrants, particularly
the most vulnerable such as unaccompanied minors.
restrictions can also reinforce the impression that migration is a
questionable, criminal phenomenon, thereby contributing to
anti-migrant, xenophobic reactions in destination countries,” he
stated. “From a development perspective, such measures risk slowing
down the resumption of growth,he said, adding that migration policy
should keep sight of its development implications as it adapts to the
crisis. In addition, he stressed that migration policies and practices
must be rooted in human rights, and that States must be vigilant
against xenophobic sentiments and discriminatory practices prompted by
the economic crisis.
The recently released 2009 UN Human Development
Report, entitled Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development,
called for wide-ranging reforms to maximize the gains from migration
and to protect the rights of migrants now estimated to be one out of
every seven persons in the world.
The report, written by independent experts and commissioned by the UN
Development Programme (UNDP), proposes reforms to migration policies in
source and destination countries that it says are politically feasible
and will increase people’s freedom and strengthen human development.