HDRP_2009_23 - Human Development Research Paper 2009/23...

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Human Development Research Paper 2009/23 Migrant Rights, Immigration Policy and Human Development Martin Ruhs
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United Nations Development Programme Human Development Reports Research Paper April 2009 Human Development Research Paper 2009/23 Migrant Rights, Immigration Policy and Human Development Martin Ruhs
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U nited Nations Development Programme Human Development Reports Research Paper 2009/23 June 2009 Migrant rights, immigration policy and human development Martin Ruhs* *For their helpful comments, I am grateful to Jeni Klugman, Francisco Rodriguez and the HDR writing team, Clare Fox, David Keen, Michael Keith and Phil Martin. All errors and views expressed in this paper are my own responsibility. I am working on a book manuscript that further develops the analysis and arguments in this paper. Martin Ruhs is Senior Researcher for the ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford. E-mail: [email protected] . Comments should be addressed by email to the author(s).
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Abstract This paper explores the potential impacts of the rights of migrant workers (“migrant rights”) on the human development of actual and potential migrants, their families, and other people in migrants’ countries of origin. A key feature of the paper is its consideration of how migrant rights affect both the capability to move and work in higher income countries (i.e. the access of workers in low-income countries to labour markets of higher-income countries) and capabilities while living and working abroad. The paper suggests that there may be a trade-off between the number and some of the rights of low-skilled migrants admitted to high-income countries and explores the implications for human development. Keywords: Migrant rights, immigration policy, human development, global labor markets. The Human Development Research Paper (HDRP) Series is a medium for sharing recent research commissioned to inform the global Human Development Report, which is published annually, and further research in the field of human development. The HDRP Series is a quick- disseminating, informal publication whose titles could subsequently be revised for publication as articles in professional journals or chapters in books. The authors include leading academics and practitioners from around the world, as well as UNDP researchers. The findings, interpretations and conclusions are strictly those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of UNDP or United Nations Member States. Moreover, the data may not be consistent with that presented in Human Development Reports.
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1 1 Introduction The rights of migrant workers (―migrant rights‖) play an important role in shaping the outcomes of migration for migrants and non-migrants in sending and receiving countries. For example, whether or not migrants enjoy the right to free choi ce of employment in the receiving country‘s labour market is likely to affect their earnings, remittances, and competition with local workers.
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