May 23, 2024

The Remittance Ripple Effect - Economic Principles Shaping Migration Policy

Utsav Luitel- eSewa Money Transfer

In the complex tapestry of global migration, the thread of remittances weaves a compelling narrative, where economic principles intersect with human aspirations and policy decisions. Remittances, the funds transferred by migrant workers to their home countries, have emerged as a vital component of the global economy and has strategic importance in the development of countries, especially the underdeveloped and developing economies. The pull and push factor drives the migration in which expenditure, earnings, facilities, consumption patterns, education, and ecological regions, determine the migration policies worldwide, reshaping governments' approaches to labor mobility, development, and social welfare, and these all implications lead to remittances. 

At the heart of the remittance phenomenon lies the economic principle of supply and demand. Migrant workers seek opportunities in countries with higher wages and better living standards, driven by the pursuit of economic prosperity for themselves and their families. The new economies of labour migration outlines income maximization strategy and risk minimization strategy to be the key component to migration, where the main motive of family lies in maximizing household utility by exploiting a wide range of opportunities from broad geographic destinations. This indicates that remittance-driven migration, increases wealth and uplifts socioeconomic conditions generating greater prosperity on an aggregate, per capita and per-worker basis. 

The impact of remittances on migration policy is multifaceted, influencing both sending and receiving nations. In many developing countries, remittances serve as a lifeline, bolstering household incomes, alleviating poverty, and reducing inequality. A study conducted in Nepal has showed foreign employment is not a preferred choice of households but is primarily the decision of the individual to go for foreign employment rather remain unemployed and economically insecure. The reliance of family upon remittances in this case will be maximised, facilitated by Government policies designed to increase out-migration, encouraging citizens to seek employment opportunities abroad and contribute to the flow of remittances.

On the other hand, destination countries face with both the challenges and opportunities presented by migrant labour and remittance outflows. Economic theory suggests that inclusion of migrant workers in the economy can exert downward pressure on wages in sectors with migration forces, leading to concerns about job displacement and competition among native workers. Moreover, remittance outflows represent a leakage in the host country's economy, as the income earned by migrants, only contributes to basic consumption, not towards the domestic gross consumption or investment, that remains as the pillars of advancing economies. This will lead to migration policies in destination countries, that creates balance between fulfilling labor market demands and mitigate the perceived negative impacts of migration on the domestic economy.

The relation between remittances and migration policy is further influenced by geopolitical dynamics, technological advancements, and social factors. Geopolitical tensions, such as restrictive immigration policies and border controls, can disrupt the flow of remittances and influence migration patterns. Similarly, advancements in financial technology have transformed the remittance landscape, facilitating faster, cheaper, and more accessible cross-border transactions. These innovations have prompted governments to reassess their regulatory frameworks and explore ways to harness the potential of digital remittances for economic development, which has been the latest case in increase of digital remittance influenced by the advancement in fintech. 

The social implication of remittance cannot be overlooked, as there will be pull and push factors that drive outmigration where pull factors attract the migrants to the country of destination including opportunities for better employment, higher wages, facilities, better working conditions, amenities, and others. Similarly, push factors that drive people to leave their place and go to some other country include economic, social, or political problems or natural calamities among others. The pull factor aims to create a value-driven and sustainable form of society, while the push factor aims to create dependent form of society. Remittance-receiving households may experience shifts in power dynamics and social expectations, as they become dependent on external sources of income.

In light of these complex dynamics, migration policies must aim to adopt a holistic approach balancing economic objectives with humanitarian considerations. As remittances play a pivotal role in fostering economic resilience and social cohesion, balance to create an enabling environment that maximizes the benefits of migration for both sending and receiving countries should be aimed at. This must include of investing in education and skills training to enhance the employability of migrant workers, facilitating financial inclusion to lower the cost of remittance transfers, and fostering dialogue and cooperation at the international level to address shared challenges and opportunities.

In conclusion, the nexus between remittances and migration policy underscores the interconnectedness of the global economy and human mobility. The interconnectedness between remittances and migration policy embodies the relationship between the global economy and human movement. Remittances serve as a financial bridge, linking the aspirations of migrant workers with the welfare of their families and the economic development of their home countries. Migration policies, in turn, shape the flow of labour across borders, influencing employment dynamics, social welfare systems, and economic stability on both ends. This symbiotic relationship underscores how changes in one domain reverberate across the interconnected network of global economic and social systems, highlighting the profound impact of human mobility on the world stage. By comprehending the economic principles that underpin this relationship, we can develop more effective and inclusive migration policies that leverage the transformative potential of remittances to promote sustainable development and prosperity.

-Utsav Luitel, eSewa Money Transfer