Current issues on Migration


Migration is understood by the migrants as a deliberate and often successful strategy to address poverty. Over the last years, the nexus between migration and development has been extensively debated at the international as well as at the national level. Throughout time, and from a development perspective, the key question has remained the same: how can migration benefit development?

In relative terms, the share of migrants in the world population has remained stable over the last century. Nonetheless, the nature, processes and motivations have significantly changed over time. Globalisation more than ever influences migration movements, modifying some of its (traditional) features. Faster, cheaper and easier means of travelling, as well as the possibilities for a global information exchange on the best modes and destinations of mobility, contribute to the awareness of individuals on the various opportunities that exist elsewhere, motivating people to move. In addition, changing labor markets increase both opportunities and pressures for people to migrate. Nonetheless, those who migrate are usually not the poorest of the poor. Some resources (and education) is needed to migrate.

Migration has traditionally been conceived as a movement from the poor 'global South' to the rich 'global North'. However, nearly half of all international migrants move within their region of origin and about 40% move to a neighboring country. Research findings are therefore putting now more emphasis on the South-South dimension of migration (estimated at approximately 60% of total global migration). Gradually, moreover, countries around the globe turn into source, destination and transit countries of migration.

In recent years, great expectations have grown of the potential contribution that migrants and diasporas can make to development in their countries of origin. This has led to an increasing number of governments in origin and destination countries to develop policies to engage migrants in development plans. The new focus on migration and the role of migrants in development is a reflection of a wider re-evaluation of the complex relationship between migration and development over the last decade. This has generated a vast array of academic and policy literature, conferences, initiatives and programmes, including the UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development and the inter-governmental Global Forum on Migration and Development.

The SDC funds a wide range of projects that focus on structural support aimed at supporting the local population and strengthening the authority's capacity of the countries mostly affected by migration (forced and voluntary). In the Swiss interdepartmental dialogue, the SDC brings in a developmental perspective on migration and the concept of sharing responsibilities and benefits. At the international level, the SDC takes an active part in the promotion of the institutional coherence of migration policies and development efforts.