International Migration, Remittances and Development: Myths and Facts
Hein de Haas
The debate on international South-North labour migration tends to focus on the receiving end of migration. This bias obscures a proper understanding of the developmental causes and consequences of migration at the sending end. The reciprocal migration - development relationship is examined through the discussion of seven migration 'myths'. Because of its profound developmental roots, it is useless to think that migration can be halted or that aid and trade are short-cut 'solutions' to immigration. Migrant remittances contribute significantly to development and living conditions in sending countries. Nevertheless, the recent 'remittance euphoria' is not justified, because unattractive investment environments and restrictive immigration policies which interrupt circular migration patterns prevent the high development potential of migration from being fully realised. Although specific policies can enhance this potential through facilitating remittance transfers and investments, the key lies in encouraging circular migration. Instead of uselessly and harmfully trying to stop inevitable migration, immigration policies allowing for freer circulation can, besides increasing migration control, enhance the vital contribution of migrants to the development of their home countries.