New Diversities • Volume 16, No. 2, 2014

Migration and Development: Rethinking Recruitment, Remittances, Diaspora Support and Return

Guest Editor: Ninna Nyberg Sørensen (Danish Institute for International Studies, DIIS)

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Including the Debate on Migration-Development in the Post-2015 Millennium Development Goals: An Editorial Introduction
by Ninna Nyberg Sørensen (Danish Institute for International Studies, DIIS)
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Lower Migration Costs to Raise Migration’s Benefits
by Philip Martin (University of California at Davis)
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Abstract and Keywords

Every year up to 10 million workers leave one country to work in another. Most are guest workers and enter the destination country legally, sometimes paying $1,000 or more to recruiters, governments, and other agents who facilitate their employment abroad. Helping over five million workers a year to move across borders for jobs may be a $10 billion global business, and reducing migration costs could increase remittances and speed development in the workers’ countries of origin. This may also improve worker protections, since migrant workers who arrive abroad in debt may be vulnerable to exploitation. Governments have cooperated to reduce remittance costs. They could further reduce worker-paid migration costs by implementing a wide range of policies, from negotiating free-movement regimes to sending workers abroad only via government agencies. The highest worker-paid costs arise in complex systems that involve recruiters in both sending and receiving countries. Reducing recruitment costs is an important key to ensure that migrant workers are protected. This would also increase the rate at which development occurs in migrant-sending countries.

Keywords: international labor migration, recruitment costs, recruiters

Migrants, Associations and Home Country Development: Implications for Discussions on Transnationalism
by Joan Lacomba (Universidad de Valencia) and
Alexis Cloquell (Universidad Católica de Valencia)
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Abstract and Keywords

The extent to which migrants participate in development projects has gained increasing prominence in the field of migration studies. In keeping with the interest of national and international institutions which promote the involvement of migrants in the development of their home countries, social research has begun to question how this phenomenon has grown (on the migrant or transnational civil society level), the nature of the organisations that drive such actions (transnational organisations) and the implications on the latter (transnational development). Many studies have seen migrant organisations as new actors in the transnational field; when not seen as emerging players, they are perceived as figures that can shape the transnational field. In order to assess the impact of migrant associations in debates of transnationalism, this article investigates the characteristics of migrant organizations located in Spain, as well as their practices aimed at development in the countries of origin.

Keywords: migrants, associations, development, countries of origin, transnationalism

Exploring the Value of a Transnational, Reciprocal and Multi-Stakeholder Approach to the Migration-Development Nexus. Case Study: TRANSCODE Programme
by Lothar Smith (Radboud University, Nijmegen),
Fabio Baggio (Scalabrini International Migration Institute, Rome) and
Ton van Naerssen (Avanna Consultancy, Nijmegen)
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Abstract and Keywords

There is a prevailing bias, even amongst the actors directly involved, to consider activities falling under the migration-development banner as bipolar engagements, i.e. activities linking a country of origin of migrants to their country of present residence. Such conceptualisations assume the nation-state as the default frame of reference. Whilst progress has certainly been made towards a necessary sophistication of migration related issues in policy thinking and related academic research, the migration-development nexus remains something still often considered as essentially something to approach within a singular or bipolar nation-state framework. This can be seen in studies of potential policy interventions related to transnational flows such as human capital transfers, remittance flows and community development projects initiatives. Taking the case of the Transnational Synergy for Cooperation and Development (TRANSCODE) Programme, and focusing on empirical insights gained with this programme in relation to its conceptual underpinnings, we explore alternative modes of incorporating migration and development. This article thus seeks to provide insights in opportunities for alternative initiatives resulting out of cross-fertilization of experiences and ideas between migrant organisations and other actors engaged in migration and development efforts.

Keywords: transnational development, multi-stakeholder initiatives, migration & development

Understanding Diaspora Organisations in European Development Cooperation – Approaches, Challenges and Ways Ahead
by Nauja Kleist (Danish Institute for International Studies)
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Abstract and Keywords

This article examines how Northwestern European development aid agencies support the development activities of diaspora organisations, especially in fragile situations. The article interrogates the perceived relationship between diaspora involvement and development, and how this perception is reflected in the ways in which development agencies collaborate with diaspora organisations through mainstream funding schemes, special diaspora initiatives and network support. Three tendencies are identified: a high emphasis on technical fixes; a tension between perceptions of diaspora organisations as special development agents and a mainstreaming ideal; and, finally, that diaspora organisations appear as particularly risky recipient groups to some development professionals because of their personal involvement in the country of origin. The article further argues that policy incoherence as well as underlying notions of development as planned, professionalized and based on a sedentary bias contribute to the marginal role diaspora organisations currently play in the professional development field.

Keywords: development cooperation, development policies, diaspora, diaspora organisations, migration-development nexus, policy incoherence

Moving Back or Moving Forward? Return Migration, Development and Peace-Building
by Marieke van Houte (Maastricht University / UNU-MERIT, Maastricht) and
Tine Davids (Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen)
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Abstract and Keywords

This article addresses under which circumstances migrants returning from European to (post-) conflict countries are willing and able to contribute to development and peace-building in their countries of origin. Based on comparative research in six countries world-wide and an in-depth study in Afghanistan, we explore (1) the heterogeneity of the post-return experience, (2) the complex meanings and motivations of return migration, and (3) the expectations of the characteristics of migrants, on which the link between return migration, development and peace-building is based. Based on these findings, we (4) explore return migrants’ potential to be agents of change. We find that while the expectations on which migration and development policies are based only count for a small minority of returnees, this is not the group that is targeted by policy. In order to formulate adequate policies that do address the needs and potential of returnees, we propose two modifications to current policy: First, de facto voluntary and involuntary return should be redefined into more relevant terms that cover the matter. Second, we propose to re-evaluate and disentangle the different goals that inform migration and development policies.

Keywords: return migration, migration and development policies, return motivation, embeddedness

Who Cares? Transnational Families in Debates on Migration and Development
by Ninna Nyberg Sørensen and Ida Marie Vammen
(Danish Institute for International Studies)
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Abstract and Keywords

International migration sets in motion a range of significant transnational processes that connect countries and people. How migration interacts with development and how policies can promote and enhance such interactions have, since the turn of the millennium, gained attention on the international agenda. The recognition that transnational practices connect migrants and their families across sending and receiving societies forms part of this debate. The ways in which policy debate employs and understands transnational family ties nevertheless remains underexplored. This article sets out to discern the understandings of the family in two (often intermingled) debates concerned with transnational interactions: The largely state and policy-driven discourse on the potential benefits of migration on economic development, and the largely academic transnational family literature focusing on issues of care and the micro-politics of gender and generation. Emphasizing the relation between diverse migration-development dynamics and specific family positions, we ask whether an analytical point of departure in respective transnational motherhood, fatherhood or childhood is linked to emphasizing certain outcomes. We conclude by sketching important strands of inclusions or exclusions of family matters in policy discourse and suggest ways to better integrate a transnational family perspective in global migration-development policy.

Keywords: migration, development, transnational family relations, gender, global care chains

The Public Role of Social Scientists in Constituting the Migration-Development Nexus
by Thomas Faist (Bielefeld University)
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Abstract and Keywords

Academic and public debates on the migration-development nexus often raise the question whether and in what ways social scientific research may form a basis for rational political decisions. The main thesis of this article is that such a question is ultimately misleading. Social scientific research may offer crucial information for describing, understanding and explaining the migration-development nexus. The most important role of social science is not to give policy advice but to offer concepts and patterns of interpretations – based on empirical research – which can guide political debates in the public sphere. This means that sociological analysis should go beyond focusing on research-policy links, and bring the social scientists’ role in the public sphere in a much more forceful way.

Keywords: international migration, development, public sphere, knowledge, public role of social scientists

Open forum

From ‘Multiculturalism’ to ‘Interculturalism’ – A commentary on the Impact of De-racing and De-classing the Debate
by Harshad Keval (Canterbury Christ Church University)
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Abstract and Keywords

Recent discourses surrounding the so-called death or decline of multiculturalism are characterised by a movement towards notions and practices of ‘Interculturality’, ‘Interculturalism’ and what have been called ‘new frameworks’ for diversity and race. The contemporary socio-cultural landscape is characterised by the persistence of racism, both institutionally and interactionally embedded, which is increasingly re-generated on the political European stage. In this paper I argue that more vigilance may be required before a wholesale acceptance of these ‘new frameworks’ is mobilised. The rise of Interculturalism in un-nuanced forms is underwritten by parallel processes of anti-multiculturalism, cultural racism, and the demise of the spaces within which the class-race dialectic can be articulated. Finally, the policy gaze has both racialised the debate on cultural difference using the focus on particular ‘different’ groups, and deemed other black and minority ethnic groups as officially less troublesome. I argue that this economically and politically expedient rendition of the sociocultural landscape leads to a distorted analysis of differential subjugation. In an apparently ‘post-race’ era of diversity, racialised experiences need to be articulated more richly and with more political weight than interculturalism may currently facilitate.

Keywords: imulticulturalism, interculturalism, race, intersectionality