In an interesting new World Bank blog post, economist David McKenzie argues that facilitating international migration should be at the top of everyone’s list of effective development interventions. Compared to microfinance, conditional cash transfer programs and cash grants to micro-entrepreneurs, a seasonal migration program in New Zealand produced much larger gains in annual income for program beneficiaries.
Also, he finds that the usual fears for or about migrants—that they would be vulnerable to poor treatment, or that they would take advantage of the program to over stay their visas—don’t seem have materialized. The question for shiree then, is how could these kind of gains be made to work for the extreme poor? Would these kinds of migration facilitation programmes ever be appropriate for the extreme poor?