Labour migration: a developmental path or a low-level trap?

This article focuses on the debate about the developmental impact of migration on the sending countries. Throughout the post-World War II period, temporary labour migration has been promoted as a path to development. Remittances have grown to rival or surpass official development assistance and have increased living standards in the sending countries. However, the evidence over time is that the remittances do not lead to development or even to higher incomes that are sustainable without further migration. Some determinedly temporary labour migration schemes offer promise. But where the pattern of migration and remittances locks into a semi-permanent arrangement (the standard line is `There's nothing more permanent than "temporary" migration'), then this may be a developmental trap for the South whereby, in a semi-permanent `3 D's Deal', the South foregoes self-development in favour of being a long-range bedroom community to supply the labour for dirty, dangerous, and difficult jobs in the North.