The link between organised migration and development

IOM recognises the enormous contribution of migrants to regional development, which benefits both countries of origin and countries of destination.

Migrants abroad can accumulate human, economic, social and cultural capital for the development of their countries and communities of origin and destination. Using their social capital, migrants create transnational communities that forge and strengthen the bonds of several sectors between the countries of origin and destination, innovating social, cultural and commercial relationships.

IOM has given priority to its migration and development work in South America. The Organisation fosters synergies between development and labour migration, initiatives for engaging with diasporas, advice on migration policies and sustainable development, as well as the development of projects on productive investment of remittances and research. 

One of the five key areas in which IOM in South America has defined its regional strategy is “maximising the benefits of migration to development in particular in the context of regional integration”. These are the objectives that guide the actions developed in this thematic area:

  • Contribute to regional efforts to maximise the development benefits of emigration and immigration, and promote actions that encourage the social, economic and cultural resources of migrants.
  • Work with civil society and the communities abroad to support migrants and, when appropriate, to promote their active participation in government programmes in issues of migration and development and labour migration, including information provision and sensitization activities.

In this regard, IOM continues supporting actions and mechanisms in South America, such as: the temporary or permanent return of highly qualified migrants to cover needs in key sectors in their countries of origin; financial education mechanisms; support of productive projects allowing for the linkage between migrant populations and communities of origin for their mutual benefit; strengthening of the capacities of migrants and their families for their personal and community development; development of information campaigns to counter the negative views towards migration and emphasis on the contributions of migrants to economic, social and cultural development.

IOM’s perspective on labour migration management

International labour migration is a transnational phenomenon and, therefore, it may not be efficiently dealt with only at a national level. It is necessary to address it in the bilateral, regional and international spheres.

IOM, through its extensive worldwide network of offices, is an important technical and neutral interlocutor between the countries of origin and destination of migrant workers, aiming at the development of public policies, strategies, multilateral and/or bilateral agreements, programmes, projects and mechanisms facilitating labour migration management, so that there is a balance among the various interests of stakeholders, paying particular attention to the respect for human and labour rights of migrant workers.

IOM’s perspective on international labour migration consists of strengthening the synergies between labour migration and development, and promoting legal avenues of labour migration as an alternative to irregular migration. 

Organised and well-directed labour migration has an enormous potential for governments, communities, migrants, employers and other actors in the countries of origin and destination. Although job creation in the country of origin is the ideal and preferable option, a growing number of countries recognise international labour migration as an integral part of their national development and employment strategies, given that they benefit from the advantages brought about by job opportunities at a global level.

IOM’s regional strategy for South America establishes, within its objective No. 3, “The Contribution of migrants to development and regional integration”, the need to “Strengthen the capacities of governments in the region to optimize the benefits of labour migration, and protect migrant workers in both countries of origin and destination, so as to mitigate the negative impacts of migration processes”.

In connection with the foregoing, IOM has been and will continue working in South America on the strengthening of policies and laws, within the operational frameworks of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) and the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), which contribute to intraregional labour migration; providing migrants with relevant information and services to ensure that they can migrate safely, within the corresponding legal framework; supporting actions and mechanisms so that highly qualified migrants may cover needs in key sectors with a shortage of human resources by means of their inclusion in the labour market, the development of networks abroad and the temporary or permanent return.