The Development Dimension of Migrant Transfers
This paper highlights that remittances have become the most visible evidence and measuring stick for the ties connecting migrants with their societies of origin.
The paper presents a conceptual tool to understand the role of remittances and explains:
- Monetary remittances: Migrant's earnings sent from the migration destination to the place of origin;
- Social remittances: Ideas, practices, identities and social capital flowing from receiving to sending country communities;
- Intra- and international remittances: Remittance by migrants within their countries of origin or across an international border;
- Individual and collective remittances;
- Forms of Transfer:
- Formal: Banks, post offices and money transfer companies;
- Informal: Hand carried or transferred by family, friends or money couriers.
The paper enlists the development opportunities in the remittance scenario, including:
- Mobilizing remittance: Depends on a healthy financial system in the host country, along with an enabling economic environment and an adequate basic infrastructure;
- Enabling monetary remittances through regular banking channels to encourage more productive use;
- Capitalizing on the macroeconomic dynamics generated by transnational migration;
- Utilizing Diasporas as development agents by:
- Increasing interactions and interests at the political level;
- Granting dual citizenship rights;
- Enhancing already existing networks for investment, international trade, and tourism.
To conclude, the paper cautions that international development agencies should make sure that their renewed focus on remittances as a development tool does not place additional stress on already vulnerable groups.