World Development Report 2023: Migrants, Refugees, and Societies

The world population has reached eight billion and is expected to grow for decades, but many countries are facing a sharp drop in working-age adults. The competition for workers and talent will intensify globally, and many countries will be reliant on migration to realise their long-term growth potential. A recent report from the World Bank, titled “World Development Report 2023: Migrants, Refugees, and Societies”, proposes policies for better migration management in destination, transit and origin countries, underscoring its urgency.

Match-Motive Framework

The report introduces the “Match-Motive Framework,” a labour economics-based approach that emphasizes how well migrants’ skills and attributes match the needs of the destination countries. The framework also considers the reasons why migrants move in search of opportunity and determines the extent to which migrants, origin countries and destination countries gain from migration. The framework combines “match” and “motive” to determine policy priorities for countries of origin, transit, destination, and the global community.

Policies for Origin and Destination Countries

The World Bank report suggests that origin countries should make labour migration an explicit part of their development strategy. At the same time, it is suggested that the countries of destination promote migration in sectors where migrant skills are highly sought after, make efforts to integrate them into their society, and tackle social consequences that may worry their citizens. The report also calls for international cooperation and multilateral efforts to strengthen the match of migrants’ skills with the needs of destination societies.

Population Shifts

Many low-income countries are anticipated to experience a surge in population, which will exert pressure on them to generate additional employment opportunities for the youth. However, developing and impoverished nations such as India are observing an increase in the number of young people, while developed countries have already surpassed this stage, as they are experiencing depopulation. Spain, with a population of 47 million, is predicted to reduce by over one-third by 2100, with people aged 65 and above accounting for a greater proportion of the population, escalating from 20 per cent to 39 per cent. As their populations are no longer expanding, countries like Mexico, Thailand, Tunisia, and Türkiye might soon require more foreign workers.



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