Regional Workshop on International Migration Statistics, Cairo, Egypt, 30 June - 3July 2009

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Regional Workshop on International Migration Statistics, Cairo, Egypt, 30 June - 3July 2009. Features of international migration in the Arab countries and related policies. By: Frederico Neto, Chief, Social Development Division (SDD) UN-ESCWA. International Migration. Features. Policies. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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<ul><li><p>Increase in the number of immigrants (Millions)to the Arab region Source: UN Population Division.</p><p>19902005Increase 1990-2005Arab region13207Mashreq 473GCC9134</p><p>1- The coexistence of several types of international migration. temporary migration and permanent migration, labour migration and family migration, brain drain, illegal migration, transit migration, Migration currents involve people from almost all world nationalities.2- The high proportion of immigrants relative to the total population. Immigrants form one-third (36%) of the total population in the Gulf region. Immigrants form about 90% of the labour force in Qatar, UAE and Kuwait. More than half (60%) of the immigrants to the Gulf originate from India, and the share of those originating from other Arab countries is declining. Parallel to these considerable immigration flows, we also notice an increase in the unemployment rate among nationals.</p><p>3- The phenomenon of sponsor (kafeel) in international migration. Phenomenon exclusive to the Arab region. Implies the involvement of nationals in managing immigration. Number of kafeels has significantly increased to the extent that they can now intervene in, or even constrain, the implementation of national policies related to migration and employment.4- The increase in female labour immigration to work in selected jobs:Wealthy Arab families are increasingly requesting the help of female immigrants in domestic work, childrearing, personal assistance, etcThis phenomenon is widespread in Gulf countries and is also emerging in Lebanon and Jordan.The estimated number of female labour immigrants to the Arab Region is 1.5 million.Most female immigrants are Asian and are not included under national labour legislations.</p><p>5- Increased youth propensity to migrate.The Arab region suffers the highest unemployment rate worldwide (16%), particularly among youth.The youth unemployment rate is as high as 82% in Syria and surpasses 50% in Jordan and Egypt.Youth form a large share of the total unemployed population: 40% to 60% of the unemployed population in Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Algeria, Tunisia and Yemen. 90% of the unemployed population in Egypt and Iraq. 80% in Kuwait and Qatar, 75% in Bahrain and 65% in Oman.Most of these unemployed youth are seeking employment for the first time.Unemployment rates are higher among young women as compared with young men. The female youth unemployment rate is 24% for the Arab region.</p><p>6- The diminishing opportunities for international migration.Opportunities for migration from the Arab region to Europe have diminished, especially after the events of 9-11.Opportunities for migration within the Arab Region, to Gulf countries, have diminished, especially after 1985. The share of Arabs (from the total labour immigrants) has declined whereby they only constitute 4.4% of the total labour migrants to Oman, 10% in UAE and 38% in Saudi Arabia. In fact, Gulf countries are now requesting highly specialized skills that other Arab workers might not possess.Emigration is rather permanent in the case of Europe, but temporary in the case of Gulf countries.Both migration streams are roughly equal in size (3.5 million registered emigrants in each).</p><p>SECOND Opportunities and Challenges of international migration in the Arab Region </p><p>Opportunities</p><p>1- The high level of remittances flowing from, and to, the Arab region.At the world level, the Arab region stands out as the greatest source of remittances and as one of the greatest receivers.In 2004, Gulf countries were the source of remittances amounting to US$ 26 billions.Saudi Arabia is considered as the 2nd most important source of remittances worldwide (in 2004, this country was the source of remittances amounting to US$ 13.5 billions).In 2003, the Arab region has received US$ 21.6 billions in the form of formal registered remittances.It is assumed that informal remittances are even much bigger in amount.Gulf countries are the source of almost half the remittances flowing to Lebanon, one third of those flowing to Sudan and Yemen, and a quarter of those flowing to Jordan.Despite this considerable amount of remittances entering the Arab region, its net remittances output is negative, revealing a deficit of about US$ 4 billions.</p><p>2- Circular migration in the Arab region.What is Circular migration?It is the temporary or permanent return of migrants to their countries of origin.Why is Circular migration viewed as a triple-win solution?because it offers opportunities of gains for host countries, home countries and migrants themselves.(1) Host countries can fill their labour market needs without facing the full challenges of immigrant integration.(2) Home countries can tap into the skills and resources of returning migrants.(3) Migrants themselves would take advantage of wider openings for legal migration. They would benefit from the higher wages in host countries and would enrich their work experience.</p><p>In circular migration, the emigration of highly-educated and skilled workers from Arab countries to work outside (phenomenon known as BRAIN DRAIN) can ultimately become beneficial for these countries of origin when emigrants ultimately return.</p><p>Challenges</p><p>1- Distortion of the age-sex structure in the Arab region.Distorted sex ratios (number of males per 100 females) in the working ages, mainly in Gulf countries, because of the sizeable foreign labour force (mainly males).</p><p>2- Coexistence of open unemployment of nationals and growing number of expatriate workers in the GCC countries.Expatriate workers form more than half of the total labour force in some GCC countries.Unemployment rates, particularly among youth, are increasing in some GCC countries (ex: 21% in Bahrain and 26% in Saudi Arabia in 2005 )3- Social and political pressures.Resulting from the unemployment rate on the one hand, and the unmet growing demand by people to emigrate on the other hand.4- Concerns about the protection of the human rights of immigrants.Feminization of immigration to GCC countries, involving the recruitment of maids from Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Bangladesh), and the trafficking and forced prostitution of women (from the former Soviet Union).Paucity of information on trafficking in the Middle East.Poor quality data on the very large immigrant communities in GCC.Largely owing to the sponsored migration (Kafeel) system, along with the unprotected status of forced migrants in many countries, the issue of human rights protection of immigrants is paramount in the MENA region.</p><p>THIRD Data on international migration in the Arab Region </p><p>Lack of knowledge about the characteristics of international migration in the Arab Region (distribution of migrants by gender, educational level, occupation, rural/urban origin, etc).The Arab region still suffers from:Lack of data and knowledge related to the nature, patterns and features of international migration.Lack of standardized definitions of international migration, making it difficult to compare data of different countries. In fact, the comparison of data published by sending and receiving countries reveals serious discrepancies.</p><p>Unavailability of regional research centers specialized in international migration issues.Lack of specialized surveys tackling the issue of international migration (in order to reveal the occupational and educational characteristics of migrants, as well as the magnitude and flows of remittances).Unavailability of regional migration databases/information systems combining 2 components: data and policies. </p><p>FOURTH Policies related to international migration in the Arab countries.</p><p>*Most GCC countries want to lower immigration. The reason for these restrictive immigration policies are: - The rising unemployment of nationals,- The large proportion of foreigners in the total population.- The emerging financial crisis.Government views and policies on the level of immigration GCC countries.</p><p>CountryImmigration19762007ViewPolicyViewPolicyBahrainSatisfactoryMaintainSatisfactoryMaintainKuwaitSatisfactoryMaintainToo highLowerOmanSatisfactoryMaintainToo highLowerQatarSatisfactoryMaintainToo highLowerSaudi ArabiaToo lowRaiseToo highLowerUAESatisfactoryMaintainToo highLower</p><p>*Government views and policies on the level of immigration</p><p>Country2007View PolicyAustraliaToo lowRaiseBrazilSatisfactoryMaintainCanadaToo lowRaiseDenmarkToo highLowerFinlandToo lowRaiseFranceToo highLowerGermanySatisfactoryMaintainItalySatisfactoryMaintainJapanSatisfactoryMaintainNetherlandsToo highLowerNew ZealandToo lowRaiseNorwaySatisfactoryMaintainSpainSatisfactoryMaintainSwedenSatisfactoryMaintainUKSatisfactoryMaintainUSASatisfactoryMaintain</p><p>need for Arab regional dialogue and cooperationin relation to international migration.In the context of the global financial crisis, regional integration is no longer a choice for Arab countries. It has become an urging necessity in order to overcome and mitigate the impacts of this crisis. Arab labour market openness has become crucial to reach equilibrium between Arab labour markets, in light of increasing unemployment rates and increasing propensity for international migration in search of better job opportunities, particularly among the youth population.</p><p>RCP Levels:Cooperation and consultation could be held at 3 levels:1- between Arab countries (sending and receiving).2- between receiving Arab countries and sending Asian countries.3- between sending Arab countries and receiving European countries.There is a need to establish a Regional Consultative Process (RCP) on international migration:RCP common areas of interest:1- Exchanging data on migration (from surveys, censuses, administrative records).2- Exchanging information and data in relation to undocumented migration and the trafficking of individuals across country borders.3- Exploring means of maximizing the benefits of migration, whether for sending or receiving countries.4- Cooperating to channel the benefits of emigration to national development in the sending countries.5- Tackling any emerging migration-related issues.</p><p>Thank you</p><p>*</p></li></ul>