– Lessons learned from the 2008-2009 global economic crisis and its impact on migration will be discussed at an international gathering next week in Geneva aimed at identifying policies that will effectively address migration challenges stemming from future economic crises.
In the second of IOM’s International Dialogue on Migration to be held this year, representatives from IOM member states, observers, international organizations and civil society will gather on 12-13 September at the International Conference Centre Geneva to focus on the links between Economic Cycles, Demographic Change and Migration.
The gathering, to be opened by IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson, aims to identify ways to reconcile these dynamics to better help countries struggling with the question of how to better manage migration through periods of boom and bust.
This latest economic crisis has in particular drawn attention to the impact on migration and migrants in both countries of origin and destination. These have ranged from the knee-jerk adoption of short-term migration policies in some countries, a return flow of migrants home, a drop in the flow of remittances, especially high levels of unemployment among migrants and a hardening of public attitudes towards migrants in host countries.
Although migrants in some sectors of the economy such as agriculture and construction were the hardest hit by the economic crisis, other sectors such as health have remained relatively unscathed or have even flourished. This underlines the fact that migrants play an important role in helping economies and societies out of a recession, particularly in countries faced with ageing and shrinking workforces.
Nevertheless, some of the limitations to defining policies lie in the uncertainty of short and medium term labour market projections, the time lag between economic recession or recovery and any reaction in migration flows and the varying demographic realities faced by individual countries or regions and their role on labour migration.
Despite a temporary dip in migration flows during the height of the global economic crisis, labour mobility is expected to resume worldwide and even to exceed prior levels as demographic disparities between origin and destination countries widen. Now more than ever, there is a need to better match labour supply and demand at both regional and global levels.