Migrants sending home billions

Lisa Napoli Jan 17, 2007

TEXT OF STORY

LISA NAPOLI: As tough new migration rules go into effect this week in Russia to crack down on illegal immigrants there, take a guess about the biggest source of foreign income for some of the poorest European countries.

The World Bank says it’s money sent back home by migrant workers. A new report says remittances to developing countries tops $167 billion.

World Bank lead economist Ali Mansoor is the co-author of the survey. I asked him what his findings might mean for the immigration debate raging in America.

ALI MANSOOR: There needs to be greater effort to recognize the demand for migrant labor and for sending countries and receiving countries to work together with international insitutions to put in place programs that allow this demand to be satisfied through legal means.

Monsoor says to break the cycle, countries need to make it possible for its people to return home.

MANSOOR: We also need countries that are sending migrants to have a much stronger emphasis on improving policies that would encourage business-friendly regimes at home, as well as improving governance and quality of life so that people who go, do indeed want to come back.

That’s Ali Monsoor of the World Bank.

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