Perspectives from Governments of Countries of Origin and Migrant Associations
Oliver Bakewell, in Stephen Castles and Raúl Delgado Wise (Eds.)
This paper draws on the oral presentations made by representatives of government and migrant associations at the Bellagio workshop, which gave valuable insights into aspects of the experience of migration and development which do not usually appear in the academic literature. It contrasts the changing perspectives of governments and migrant associations and their relationship. The former are increasing their engagement with migrants and encouraging their investment in the “homeland”. Migrants associations are lobbying for migrant’s rights in countries of settlement and origin and attempting to build up national and international networks that will strengthen their voice. The paper looks at some of the inherent tensions in the relationship between migrant associations and their states’ of origin, which emerged at the workshop. It concludes by looking at some areas for further debate, research and action. These include strengthening “south-south” linkages on migration issues; questioning the enthusiasm for temporary worker programmes among policymakers and some academics; and, the need for research to understand the factors that shape migrants’ different paths of settlement, integration and transnationalism. Both the migrant associations and government representatives had much more to say about improving migrants’ quality of life and encouraging investments, rather than the role of migration in contributing to an explicit development agenda. There appeared to be little enthusiasm for linking them together in an instrumental way: considering migration as a policy lever to enhance development, or vice-versa, development as a policy lever to manage migration.