general, very little of such progress has involved girls and women with disabilities.
There is still a common attitude that a disabled woman has little hope of becoming a
wife or mother, or of getting a decent job, whereas it is more widely accepted that a man,
despite his disability, is capable of earning an income and providing for a family. This
differential attitude has a great impact on women’s access to education and appropriate
training (Biasiato, 2007).
258. Global gross domestic product (GDP) lost annually owing to disability (comprising
social benefits paid to, and loss of productive potential of, people with disabilities) is
massive (Metts, 2000). In the United Kingdom (UK), it is estimated that the economy
would receive a return of £13 billion if the employment rate for people with disabilities
was comparable to the national average, and that by 2020 the UK economy would grow
by £35 billion if the skills of people with disabilities were developed to world-leading
levels (Evans, 2007).
259. The ageing of the workforce in many developed countries also means that an
increasing proportion of the workforce will have age-related disabilities and the effective
recruitment and retention of disabled people will therefore increasingly affect national
productivity. This is particularly the case in economies experiencing skills and labour
shortages. “Low employment rates of disabled people are ... increasingly becoming an
issue for reasons of macro-economic efficiency, which is concerned with making
progress in using grossly under-utilised human resources” (OECD, 2003).
260. Evidence of the skills deficit among persons with disabilities is accumulating, as
many countries are “activating” disabled people by, for example, introducing “welfare to
work” initiatives (OECD, 2003). Even when quota systems are in place to increase
formal sector job opportunities for disabled people, skill deficits remain a barrier. In
Thailand, for example, between 1996 and 1998 over 9,000 designated disabled job
vacancies per year could not be filled by the public employment service because
qualified disabled applicants could not be found (ILO, 2003d). In Germany, the quota
level has recently been reduced from 6 to 5 per cent because there were insufficient
numbers of qualified persons with disabilities to fill the available jobs.
261. Disabled people in open mainstream employment often reach high productivity
levels, supporting the “business case” for employing them (Zadek and Scott-Parker,
2001). A survey among Australian employers found that employees with disabilities
were rated lower than average employees on some productivity factors (speed and
accuracy), and better on others (attendance and sick leave) and employee maintenance
factors (recruitment, safety, insurance costs) (Graffam et al., 2002). In the United States,
employers that accommodate workers with disabilities improve productivity owing to
longer retention of trained disabled workers and savings in workers’ compensation and
other insurance costs (Job Accommodation Network, 2007).
4.3.2. Skills training options for persons with disabilities
262. People with disabilities access training in a variety of ways – through mainstream
or special training institutions, on-the-job training, informal apprenticeships or active
labour market policies. These training options differ in terms of costs and likelihood of
moving trainees into productive mainstream employment, their long-range goal.
263. Mainstreaming policies for skills training in many countries now aim to enable
disabled persons to participate in general-population vocational training institutions and
programmes. Vocational education and training centres may provide a range of
assistance services, as well as technical aids and adaptations to meet disability-related
support requirements. However, a number of significant barriers have been identified:
Skills for improved productivity, employment growth and development
for example, disabled students often have limited access to mainstream courses as they
often cannot pay tuition fees or do not meet entry requirements, training centres may be
inaccessible and inadequate preparations may have been made to accommodate trainees
with disabilities. The results of mainstreaming initiatives point to other challenges as
well, as illustrated in the case of Australia (box 4.7).
Australia: Labour market outcomes of vocational education
and training for people with disabilities
The Bridging Pathways national action plan 2000–05 was introduced with the aim of
creating a vocational education and training system that would lead to international best
practice in achieving equitable outcomes for people with disabilities. Specifically, the plan
of action aims to increase access for persons with disabilities to vocational education
and training; to improve their successful participation and achievement in all fields of
study and levels; and to achieve outcomes in employment and lifelong learning that also
increase their contribution to the economic and social life of the community. Following
recognition that people with a disability in vocational education and training continue to
experience lower levels of employment before and after training, compared to the
general result, a revised Bridging Pathways Blueprint was introduced in 2004. This
Blueprint points to progress achieved but says “despite pockets of achievement, we are
still struggling to see substantial employment outcomes”.
Source: Australian National Training Authority, 2004, p. 19.
264. Training in special centres predominated in early vocational rehabilitation
approaches. They emphasized separate dedicated training facilities for people with
disabilities. These institutions – including sheltered workshops using a production-based
approach to training – continue to operate in both developed and developing countries.
265. An oft-stated objective of sheltered workshops is to increase the “work capacity” of
people with disabilities so they may secure employment elsewhere once they are fully
trained and rehabilitated. However, in general, sheltered employment has had very little
effect on the productivity of people with disabilities and their integration into the
community (Murphy and Rogan, 1995). In many countries this has led to setting targets
for transitioning from sheltered workplace-based training to mainstream employment
and to considerable change in the operation of dedicated training centres, including
improving the labour market relevance of courses offered and linking courses to national
certification frameworks (box 4.8).
Trinidad and Tobago
The National Centre for Persons with Disabilities in Trinidad offers two-year skills
training programmes in a range of courses certified by the National Examination Council
of the Ministry of Education. In addition to technical skills, the programmes include
remedial numeracy, reading and writing skills, computer literacy and independent living
skills, to equip individuals with disabilities with the work-related and social skills
necessary for success in the open labour market. Trainees initially undergo a
programme of vocational assessment and may also attend the Work Adjustment Training
Programme, which focuses on improving individuals’ work-related behaviour and
developing core skills for employability. After successful completion of the programmes,
graduates are channelled into advanced training or apprenticeship programmes, with
support and guidance as required, before moving on to jobs at companies in the locality.
Ongoing counselling and guidance is provided to graduates as they move from being
apprentices to becoming full-time or part-time employees. Over 55 per cent of graduates
find jobs in open employment and some enter self-employment.
Source: Trinidad National Centre for Persons with Disabilities, 2006.
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266. Enterprise-based training of people with disabilities is encouraged by government
subsidies and workplace modifications, increasingly deployed to encourage people with
disabilities to engage in open “supported” employment. Such employment also provides
individual coaching and training support to people with disabilities in mainstream jobs.
This type of training has been found to outperform other rehabilitation programmes
(Frölich et al., 2004; PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2006). It is also cost-effective: at the
average cost of employing one disabled person in a sheltered job for one year, Remploy
(a UK-based provider of services to people with disabilities) can successfully help four
people find jobs with mainstream employers (Remploy, 2007). As it gradually closes its
sheltered workshops, Remploy foresees a quadrupling of the number of people they can
place in high-quality open employment each year.
267. Skills training partnerships in which employers collaborate with local training or
employment service agencies have proven to be highly successful in equipping people
with disabilities with marketable skills. Training may involve several levels ranging
from basic employability skills to more advanced employer needs. In Canada, for
example, both the Bank of Montreal and the Royal Bank have repeatedly used the
approach to hire entry-level bank tellers and customer service representatives. Costs are
typically covered by the Government through community service agencies, and training
may be provided by the agencies in collaboration with a regional training institution. In
the Republic of Korea, several employers collaborate with the Korea Employment
Promotion Agency for the Disabled (KEPAD) in placing and training workers with
disabilities, with KEPAD undertaking the recruitment and pre-employment training of
the disabled workers and advising on workplace adjustment, and the companies
undertaking on-the-job training (ILO, 2007h). Employers have cited many benefits to the
approach: savings in recruitment time; financial savings through reduced training costs;
lower employee attrition rates and associated recruitment and retraining costs; the
creation of a more representative and diverse workforce as often required by legislation;
and a better understanding of the diverse needs of customers – including those with
268. ICT training for subsequent employment of disabled people in ICT-related jobs and
sectors has enormous potential both in developed and developing countries. For example,
in the Republic of Korea, following preparatory training arranged by KEPAD, CJ
Telenix provides training for people with disabilities to work as call-centre operators
from their own homes. While the cost of establishing these home-based workstations is
high, the expense is more than recouped in terms of increased productivity and customer
satisfaction (ILO, 2007h).
269. Training people with disabilities who work in the informal economy is a double
challenge. Firstly, those who work in the informal economy, including many disabled
people, are often uneducated and have received little or no training. Secondly, the work
is almost inherently characterized as low in both productivity and earnings. A variety of
training models have been used to develop skills to upgrade work in the informal
economy (see example from Cambodia below). Formal training programmes have
generally had little impact. Nevertheless, there are individual success stories that
illustrate, in general terms, the productivity benefits of skills development for disabled
people who work in the informal economy.
Skills for improved productivity, employment growth and development
Under the auspices of the Alleviating Poverty through Peer Training (APPT) project
in Cambodia, people with disabilities (having either reduced mobility or a visual disability)
wishing to start their own informal sector enterprise were given in-house training in
already established businesses. A total of 511 people with disabilities (including 290
women) were trained and 423 (including 248 women) started a business. Another 74
participants improved their existing businesses. Using a simple learning-by-doing
approach, the APPT addressed the particular skills development needs of disabled
people in rural localities in a developing country. The project replicated the skills and
practices of successful businesses. Careful planning ensured that markets were not
flooded by too many new businesses offering similar products or services. The APPT
strategy has now been adopted by NGOs, so that its continuity is assured for the
immediate future at least. Throughout the project implementation, government officials
seconded to the project were provided with an opportunity to gain awareness of training
and employment challenges confronting persons with disabilities and experience in using
the APPT approach to overcome them.
Source: ILO, 2008b.
270. People with disabilities also acquire employable skills through active labour
market policies. So far, this has especially been the case in OECD countries. In Canada,
for example, the various Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities are
designed to help people with disabilities overcome barriers and become active in the
labour force (box 4.10). Agreements between the federal Government and individual
provinces/territories support a broad range of programmes and services, including job
coaching and mentoring; pre-employment training and skills upgrading; post-secondary
education; assistive aids and devices; and a variety of workplace supports that help
people with disabilities to develop marketable skills and find employment.
Work Foundations, Alberta, Canada
In Alberta Province, Canada, the Work Foundations programme, available to all
Albertans including those with disabilities, provides basic skills training to enable
participants to pursue further job-related training and/or find employment. The Training
for Work programme assists low-income Albertans to gain occupational skills and some
basic academic and/or employability skills needed to obtain employment and become
self-sufficient. Of the 1,300 Albertans with disabilities who participated in the programme
in 2005–06, 70 per cent completed their training and of these 51 per cent were employed
or self-employed within three months. The Alberta Provincial Board for Persons with
Developmental Disabilities provides funding for a range of initiatives including
“employment preparation supports” that are designed to assist individuals with skills
development for employment and exploring the world of work, and “employment
placement supports” that help individuals maintain employment and/or self-employment.
Source: Provincial Government of Alberta, 2006.
271. Inappropriate disability legislation may nevertheless reduce the uptake of people
with disabilities in employment and thereby constrain them with regard to being
productive members of the labour force. For example, Viet Nam still places mandatory
restrictions on the number of hours per day (seven) that a person with a disability can
work, a policy that reduces employers’ incentive to hire them as it implies that all
disabled people have lower work capacity and productivity. In the United States and
Australia, the employment rates of disabled persons fell following the introduction of the
Americans with Disabilities Act and the Australian Disability Discrimination Act
(Stapleton and Burkhauser, 2003; Australian Public Service Commission, 2006). The
protections afforded in these laws may have dissuaded employers from recruiting
disabled workers. However, the employment effect of anti-discrimination legislation in
the United States may become more positive in the future as young people with
disabilities face less discrimination in completing formal education and training
272. To summarize, enhancing the skills of disabled people can improve their ability to
either secure formal economy jobs, where they exist, or to increase their income-
generating capacity in the informal economy, where formal jobs are scarce. On-the-job
training has been found to be more effective than institution-based training, although
special centres that have introduced relevant training, delivered effectively with
accredited certification and follow-up support services, have had considerable success in
placing graduates. While a policy of mainstreaming training has been adopted recently in
many countries, there is to date no compelling evidence with regard to its effectiveness.
The primary aim of training is to lead to higher-productivity employment and higher
income in good-quality formal jobs. Targeted training – if well designed and
accompanied by appropriate employment services – can greatly increase the ability of
persons with disabilities to obtain such mainstream employment. As with the other target
groups covered in this chapter, persons with disabilities are a diverse group with
different support requirements. Some can benefit from inclusive training once reasonable
accommodation is made. Others need greater support and sometimes targeted or separate
4.4. Migrant workers
International cooperation and technical cooperation in human resources development,
education, training and lifelong learning should develop mechanisms that mitigate the adverse
impact on developing countries of the loss of skilled people through migration, including
strategies to strengthen the human resources development systems in the countries of origin
(Human Resources Development Recommendation, 2004 (No. 195), Paragraph 21(a)).
273. Labour migration poses a variety of challenges and opportunities for training and
deploying skilled labour. This section takes up three interlinked issues. First, for
countries of destination, migration policy is examined as one approach to fill skill
shortages. Second, for skilled workers themselves, ways of improving recognition of
skills across borders are discussed as a means to help migrant workers secure jobs for
which they are qualified. Third, for countries of origin, development challenges are
examined when migration results in skills gaps as skilled workers – particularly in the
health-care and education sectors – seek better employment opportunities elsewhere.
274. The scale of migration of skilled workers in some regions and in some occupations
raises concerns about the impact on development and on the return on investments in
skills development made in developing countries. Recent analysis of migration flows
from developing to developed countries estimated that some 8 per cent of the adult
population with tertiary education in developing countries had migrated to OECD
countries (Ghose et al., 2008).
For some countries, the proportion is much higher:
above 70 per cent for some countries in the Caribbean region (Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica
and Trinidad and Tobago) and between 40 and 50 per cent for some countries in Africa
(for example, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Sierra Leone) (Dumont and
Ghose et al. (2008) analyse data on immigrants and expatriates from the OECD database
(http://www.oecd.org) and from Barro and Lee (2000). Developing countries in the summary statistics quoted
include least developed countries.
Skills for improved productivity, employment growth and development
275. The potential harm of this brain drain is of most concern in the health-care and
education sectors. Nearly one third of practising physicians in the United Kingdom and
New Zealand are foreign born: one third to one half of physicians graduating from South
African medical schools emigrate to developed countries (Clark et al., 2006). Some
150,000 nurses from the Philippines work abroad, through programmes actively
supporting their overseas employment. In turn, data from the end of the 1990s showed
that 80 per cent of doctors in rural areas of South Africa were from other countries,
including many from other African countries (Bach, 2003).
276. International migration patterns in health-care occupations broadly reflect the
trends for high-skilled workers in general (Dumont, 2007, citing OECD data). Pienkos
(2006, p. 38), in describing the brain drain in the Caribbean region, referred to the risks
of these patterns for employment and development as manifestations of a vicious circle:
“The source country … cannot easily develop if it loses skilled personnel, and it won’t
be able to retain skilled personnel unless it develops. Loss in the stock of human capital
lowers the very productivity and economic growth essential to higher incomes and more
attractive employment opportunities at home.”
277. The broader implications and policy responses to the development impact of labour
migration, and in particular of women migrant workers (box 4.11), have been examined
by a number of UN and other organizations.
Guidance on dealing with the intertwined
issues of skills development, productivity, overseas employment, gender (box 4.11) and
development is provided in the outcomes of recent tripartite discussions, in particular the
ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration (ILO, 2005f), adopted by a Tripartite
Meeting of Experts (31 October–2 November 2005), following the general discussion on
migrant workers at the International Labour Conference in 2004.
Gender issues in migration
The UN General Assembly’s Summary of the High-level Dialogue on International
Migration and Development (October 2006) noted that about half of all international
migrants were female and that women, like men, migrated in order to improve their
livelihood. “However, migration also entailed risks that were often more serious for
women than for men, especially when women were relegated to undesirable low-paying
jobs. It was important, therefore, to adopt policies that addressed the particular
circumstances and experiences of female migrants and reduced their vulnerability to
exploitation and abuse.” (UN, 2006b, p. 4).
Recent research on gender in skilled migration concludes that women are under-
represented among the highly skilled. This gender gap is strongly correlated with the
gender gap in educational attainment in countries of origin (Docquier et al., 2007).
In general, migrant workers are more likely than residents of host countries to get
jobs for which they are over-qualified. This trend is particularly striking for female migrant
workers (OECD, 2007b).
4.4.1. Filling skills gaps in countries of destination
278. A skill shortage emerges when the demand for workers for a particular occupation
is greater than the supply of workers who are qualified, available and willing to work
under prevailing market conditions. Chapter 2 identified skill shortages in some OECD
countries due to ageing populations and in some countries of Central and Eastern Europe
(CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) due to restructuring. One
See especially UN, 2005; UN, 2006a; Global Forum on Migration and Development, 2007; and UN, 2006b.
response is to invest in capital, technology and work organization so as increase the
productivity of each worker (i.e. higher productivity of each worker reducing the need
for more workers with those skills). Another strategy is to hire workers from other
countries with the requisite skills and willingness to work at prevalent wages. In some
circumstances, this is seen as a faster way to fill emerging vacancies than to train
workers in the national labour market.
279. International labour migration is a part of global structural adjustment and should
take place in conditions of choice. Some countries offer opportunities in higher-wage,
higher-skill or otherwise preferred occupations for persons from other countries who
find these jobs preferable to the opportunities they face in their home labour markets.
This becomes a stark and painful choice where local job creation is woefully inadequate.
Migration is also the result of differential growth rates across economies. As some
economies achieve faster growth, workers in slower-growth economies, where demand
for their work is slack, find work, or more highly paid work, in other countries. Many
countries find themselves in the position of both sending and receiving migrant workers
– filling lower-skill occupations with workers from other countries while their own
skilled workers seek more readily available job opportunities elsewhere. As noted, this
characterizes some CEE and CIS economies and also some developing countries, such as
280. For destination countries, meeting labour shortages by opening their labour
markets to foreign workers may benefit employers searching for workers in the short
term. International migration is selective towards more highly skilled workers. The
proportion of migrant workers in OECD countries with tertiary education increased from
30 per cent in 1990 to 35 per cent a decade later (Docquier and Marfouk, 2005).
281. However, this short-term solution in favour of readily available labour from other
countries could have long-term consequences as destination countries run the risk of
decreasing investment in training to meet demand for higher-skilled workers.
Coordination between migration policy and skills development policy may be the
preferred approach to balance short-term and long-term needs (see box 4.12 for an
example from Ireland).
Migration and skills development policy in Ireland
A 2005 government study (Skills needs of the Irish economy: The role of migration)
concluded that while skills development of the resident population remained the primary
source of skills and thus the priority for government policy, immigration was important in
meeting needs for highly skilled workers. Analysis of the 2006 census showed that
employment in the manufacturing, construction and food and drink sectors accounted for
the highest shares of migrant labour from the ten European Union (EU) countries
concerned and showed that, in the high-growth economy, there had been no
displacement of Irish workers as a result of immigration. In January 2007, Ireland
introduced a dual migration scheme, with a “green card” system to allow permanent
migration of highly skilled workers and a temporary work permit system to address short-
term labour shortages in identified sectors.
Source: Shanahan and Hand, 2008.
Skills for improved productivity, employment growth and development
4.4.2. Skills recognition: Enabling work
commensurate with skill levels
International and technical cooperation in human resources development, education,
training and lifelong learning should … promote recognition and portability of skills,
competencies and qualifications nationally and internationally (Human Resources Development
Recommendation, 2004 (No. 195), Paragraph 21(f)).
282. As stipulated in Recommendation No. 195, migrants should have equal access to
education, training and lifelong learning. The Migrant Workers (Supplementary
Provisions) Convention, 1975 (No. 143), also calls for equality of both treatment
(Article 8) and opportunity, which includes training and retraining in countries of
destination. This is an issue of paramount importance for migrant workers with both high
and low levels of skills.
283. Recognition of workers’ skills by potential employers is important for migrant
workers so that they can obtain productive employment commensurate with their
qualifications and experience. “Immigrants are more likely than the native-born to hold
jobs for which they are over-qualified” (OECD, 2007b, p. 25). Given the lack of
information on education and training systems in countries of origin available to
employers in countries of destination, it may not be surprising that between 25 and
50 per cent of skilled migrant workers are inactive or unemployed or hold jobs that
require lower levels of skills than their previous occupation. Being able to recognize
skills is important to employers in order to be able to determine whether migrant workers
have the ability to meet their needs.
284. As discussed in the paper on portability of skills presented to the Governing Body
Committee on Employment and Social Policy (ILO, 2007i), cross-border skills
recognition is not easy because destination and origin countries’ systems of occupational
classification and qualifications can be very different, and employers in one country lack
information about the credibility or reputation of diploma- or certificate-granting
institutions in other countries.
285. There are a variety of skills recognition models in use to overcome these
difficulties. The report on portability of skills distinguished three main approaches:
unilateral arrangements used by a single country to recognize skills of incoming workers,
mutual recognition agreements between two or more countries and regional integration
frameworks within networks of sending and receiving countries.
286. The most recently agreed regional arrangement, the European Qualifications
Framework for lifelong learning adopted by the European Parliament in October 2007,
extends the approach of mutual recognition (box 4.13). This approach increases
transparency and comparability of qualifications, regardless of where or how skills are
attained, and is specifically designed to build a coherent system in encouraging both
lifelong learning (through easier recognition of workers’ advancement along skill levels)
and mobility (by improved recognition of workers’ qualifications across countries).
European Qualifications Framework (EQF)
The EQF is a “translation grid” between Member States’ qualification systems to
help employers and workers better understand EU citizens’ qualifications. Intended to
support mobility and lifelong learning, the EQF establishes equivalences between
qualifications and certificates obtained in different countries. It is a reference tool for both
employers and workers when comparing the qualification levels of different countries and
various education and training systems.
The EQF includes eight broad categories of skills – “reference levels” – ranging from
basic to the most advanced qualifications. Each category includes descriptions of what
workers should know and be able to do, regardless of where their diplomas,
qualifications or certificates were obtained. In part, this responds to the particular
circumstance of opening labour markets at the Europe-wide level, where individual
institutions’ reputations for quality of training are not known throughout the wider EU. In
part, it also caters for the growing number of training service providers, as the private
sector increasingly responds to new demands for training. This approach is also
intended to better match education and training provisions and employers’ needs in the
labour market and to validate non-formal and informal learning, including on-the-job
learning. The EQF combines recognition of prior and ongoing learning in one system, for
both national and migrant workers, and covers the entire span of qualifications, ranging
from those normally acquired during compulsory schooling to those gained at tertiary
academic institutions and professional and vocational training establishments.
287. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) follows a different approach, focusing on
improving conformity and convergence among formal training institutions. In 2003 the
Caribbean Association of Training Agencies was created to establish and govern a
regional training and certification system, harmonize national TVET systems, develop
regional standards and establish a regional system for assessment and certification of
skills (box 4.14). This approach is intended to improve the transparency of the regional
labour market. It enhances the employability of workers by harmonizing their
qualifications and opening employment opportunities in the whole region. Enterprises
benefit as they expand their recruitment base for skilled labour.
288. Other regions are also initiating efforts to improve recognition of skills: ASEAN is
developing a mutual recognition system as a necessary step in its movement towards a
common labour market; MERCOSUR is adopting mutual recognition of skills
arrangements between selected professional bodies (so far in agriculture, engineering,
agronomy and geology); and several regional groups in Africa are interested in
developing schemes for mutual recognition of national qualifications to facilitate the
migration of workers within regional economic communities, particularly ECOWAS and
ASEAN: Association of Southeast Asian Nations; MERCOSUR: Common Market of the Southern Cone;
ECOWAS: Economic Community of West African States; WAEMU: West African Economic and Monetary
Skills for improved productivity, employment growth and development
Skills recognition in the Caribbean
The Caribbean Single Market and Economy aims to offset labour market shortages
and curb migration to countries outside the Caribbean by enabling free movement of
labour, and to complement agreements on the free movement of goods, services and
capital. The CARICOM Free Movement of Persons Act (2006) provides for the free
movement of certain categories of skilled labour (as certified through recognized skills
certificates) and progressively for the free movement of all persons by 2009. Over 100
occupational standards have been adopted by CARICOM as a basis for a regional
qualifications framework. In contrast to the EQF (box 4.13), training centres and schools
in each of the countries issue the same qualifications. Regional accreditation bodies are
planned for assessing qualifications for equivalency, as an enabling factor to free
movement within the region, beginning with the now concluded Agreement on
Accreditation for Education in Medical and other Health Professions.
Source: McArdle, 2007.
4.4.3. Migration policies and development in countries of origin
289. The Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration (ILO, 2005f) aims to improve
management of migration, encompassing protection of workers and promoting
development linkages. As a framework of non-binding guidelines and principles, it seeks
to help constituents make good choices in their migration policies based on the
recognition of fundamental human rights. Chapter IX of the Framework focuses on the
prospects for labour migration to serve development goals, specifying among other
measures how skills and employability policies can help maximize the potential for good
development outcomes from migration and reduce the risks of perpetuating a vicious
circle between losing skilled workers to better jobs abroad and persistent low levels of
productive employment at home.
290. Circular migration refers to migrant workers returning to their country of origin
temporarily, between periods of working abroad, while return migration is taken to
mean a permanent return to the country of origin. In both cases, as noted in the
conclusions on a fair deal for migrant workers in a global economy (ILO, 2004c), “…
returning migrant workers bring back skills, capital, experience and knowledge, these
benefits from labour migration can be enhanced by appropriate and equitable conditions
to support the return of migrants” (paragraph 9). Specific suggestions raised in various
international forums include encouraging circular forms of migration in order to better
link temporary labour mobility to the skills and development needs of the source country,
as well as to the skills requirements of the destination country. On this point, the Global
Forum on Migration and Development (2007, p. 7) concluded that “by agreement,
destination countries could make their entry and work permit policies more flexible in
return for commitments by origin countries to strengthen the incentives for migrants and
their skills to return home, either temporarily or permanently”.
291. Skills recognition schemes are also helpful in aiding countries of origin to benefit
from the development potential of returnees. Systems that recognize the new skills, or
skill levels acquired during work abroad would help returnees attain commensurate work
292. Remittances account for a substantial share of foreign exchange in some
developing countries. They are private transfers – savings that migrant workers send to
their families which can have a material impact on standards of living as they are spent
on improving housing, educating children and meeting health-care needs. There is a
general consensus that remittances could have a deeper impact on development if
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