Migration – Yes or No: A few thoughts

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) site <Learning to Live Together>, a migrant is defined as:

“any person who lives temporarily or permanently in a country where he or she was not born, and has acquired some significant social ties to this country.”

Six types are listed:

  • Temporary labour migrants (also known as guest workers or overseas contract workers)
  • Highly skilled and business migrants
  • Irregular migrants (or undocumented / illegal migrants)
  • Forced migration
  • Family members
  • Return migrants

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States should actively invite skilled or wealthy migrants. These persons with their experience, expertise and contacts would be able to aid the development of their domiciled country or sustain its prosperity.  In the global war for talent, Singapore’s Ministry of Health planned to encourage more overseas-trained Singaporean medical doctors to return home. Top Singaporean scientists working overseas have also been encouraged to come back, with the lure of full funding support for research work and help in setting up laboratories at universities here. This was also trumpeted by Indian business leaders like Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries in 2017. He stated: “It is high time that our brightest and best brains work for the benefits of India and Indians… Some of our brightest people are working outside the country and by whatever faith if they are brought back to this country, and they work for our country, they work for (the) 1.3 billion and they work to improve their lives and put together a new developmental model.” Indeed, skilled reverse migration in this instance should be encouraged especially when such persons have long term stakes in their countries as opposed those who would leave in due time.

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