1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Social Policy and Development (2000 - 2009)

Social Policy and Migration in Developing Countries

  • Project from: 2007 to 2009

The considerable research that exists on international migration has tended to focus on the economic, political and cultural implications of migration, and the situation of migrants in developed countries. Less is known about the relationship between migration and social policy, particularly in developing countries. Migration is less and less a definitive movement; it involves instead a constant flux of people, resources, ideas and political pressure between countries and various groups. It also involves new trends such as feminization, illegality, temporariness and South-South movements.

This project examines migration as it relates to transformations in social welfare, social institutions and social relations in origin and destination developing countries. Over the past two decades, international migration has resurfaced as a prominent feature of contemporary social and economic life, but because most research has focused on migration from South to North, the consequences of South-South migration are not well understood. Research questions include the following:

  • What is the nature of the migration-social policy nexus in developing contexts? In these contexts, what impact does migration have on poverty?
  • How does migration affect social policy and service provisioning in developing countries?
  • What sort of variation, if any, exists between South-North and South-South migration contexts in terms of social policy and development?
  • How applicable are the analytic frameworks for phenomena like remittances, “brain drain”, the “global care chain”, or “transnationalism” for contexts of South-South migration, and what is their relevance to social policy?
  • What are the organizational and political linkages that have a bearing on social policy and service provisioning?
  • Are there visible trends in Southern regional contexts in terms of an evolving cooperation on migration policy?

UNRISD, in conjunction with the Institute for Futures Studies (Stockholm) and the International Organization for Migration, organized a planning workshop for this project which was held on 22-23 November 2007 in Stockholm, Sweden. The workshop was financed by Sida. More information on this workshop is available under the Events tab in the upper right corner of this page.
To access the related UNRISD Conference News on Social Policy and Migration, click on the Publications tab in the upper right corner of this page.

This research is continued under the UNRISD project on South-South Migration and Development: What Role for Social Policy and Regional Governance (2012-2014).

Related reading

Katja Hujo and Nicola Piper's edited volume on 'South-South Migration: Implications for Social Policy and Development' (2010), on which you can find further information here .

Arjan de Haan and Shahin Yaqub's paper on 'Migration and Poverty: Linkages, Knowledge Gaps and Policy Implications' (2009) is available here.

Nicola Piper's Paper on 'Migration and Social Development: Organizational and Political Dimensions' (2009) is available here.

Hein De Haas’ paper on ‘Remittances, Migration and Social Development: A Conceptual Review of Literature’ (2007) can be accessed under the Publications tab in the upper right corner of this page.

Katja Hujo and Nicola Piper's paper on 'South - South Migration: Challenges for Development and Social Policy' (2007) is available here.

Draft versions of the papers presented at the Workshop in Stockholm on 22-23 November 2007 are available under the Unpublished Papers tab in the upper right corner of this page.