7th ADB-ADBI-OECD-ILO Roundtable on Labor Migration in Asia

Event | 18 - 19 January 2017
ADB Headquarters, Manila, Philippines

Background

Remittances are one of the driving factors for labor migration, especially within Asia. Of the $581 billion global remittances recorded in 2015, around 75% or $432 billion came from developing countries, particularly East Asia, the Pacific, and South Asia. Remittances by migrants from developing countries are expected to grow by 4.1% to $484 billion in 2018. Such inflows are significant not only for their size, but also for their development impact. Remittances increase household income that can be spent on social services such as education and health. They can also contribute to expansion in financial services and inclusive finance. According to UNCTAD, a 10% rise in remittances may lead to a 3.5% reduction in poverty.

Unfortunately, the impact of remittances is not fully realized because of the high transfer costs that substantially reduce migrants’ earnings and prevent the efficient flow of remittances. Although the costs of sending funds have decreased, they still remain substantial at 14–20% of remittances. Remittances costs in Asia have gone down to 8%, but are still above the global average (7.4%) and the targets set in the sustainable development goals (3% by 2030). Reducing the costs of remittances is central to reaping development gains. Evidence shows that a 5% decline in remittance costs will generate $15 billion in savings.

While migrants own their remittances and they decide, with their families, how to spend them, there is ample scope to enhance support for migrant needs and the development of the country of origin. One possibility is to develop formal financial instruments that link loans and financial services to formal remittances. For example, diaspora associations and other organizations can provide information to migrants and their families on how to access financial tools and options (e.g., diaspora bonds and diaspora funds) in order to channel their private funds to productive investments. Another option is for the government to integrate remittance policies into national polices related to financial inclusion, tax and credit, capital market, and financial services. New technologies and innovations should be provided to reduce costs of remittances. ICT can be used to make labor migration channels and remittances more accessible, facilitate job matching, and provide support to migrant workers.

Objectives

To examine:

  • Trends in regional migration, labor market supply and demand, and remittance flows;
  • Recent policy changes and their impact on labor migration with a focus on bilateral agreements, especially those addressing compliance and illegal employment;
  • Remittance channels and policies that specifically affect their costs and accessibility as well as those that impact financial literacy and financial inclusion of both migrants and their households.
  • The use of ICT to improve the experiences for all stakeholders.

Participants

Roundtable speakers will include senior policy makers, international experts, and representatives from multilateral banks, academia, and the private sector involved in labor and migration issues.

Attendees will include 26 senior government officials involved in labor or migration policies from 13 developing countries in Asia.

Output

  • Increased knowledge and enhanced capacity by policy makers from Asian countries to better understand cross-border labor migration and remittances issues, including the promotion of low-cost remittances channels, mobilization of the diaspora and increasing the development impact of remittances, and utilization of technology to increase returns on labor migration and remittances;
  • Enhanced exchange of country experiences, best practices, policies, and regulations among government officials and labor migration experts on remittance issues;
  • Database and statistics on labor migration trends and labor market migration policies and regulations
  • Policy briefs, the Labor Migration Report, multimedia content, and videos based on roundtable proceedings and recommendations.
  • Presentation materials and other documents for upload on ADB, ADBI, ILO and OECD websites.

How to register

By invitation only.

Language

English

Partners

Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, ADB, International Labour Organisation (ILO), and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Time of event

09:00 - 18:00