World Bank Paper on Migration
Shaping the Future: A Long-Term Perspective of People and Job Mobility for the Middle East and
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By Lara Jane M. Climaco
This was among the highlights of a World Bank report on shaping the future of global migration, done by its
The report, released March 16, highlighted the need for labor-sending countries in MENA to develop comprehensive programs and policies that would improve the match between their workers' interests and foreign labor market needs.
Labor-sending countries in MENA include Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, West Bank and
Currently, there are limited efforts on training, orientation, and counseling of potential labor migrants in these countries, it was noted.
This is in contrast to the
In general, the WB report noted that both industrialized and developing countries must take a comprehensive approach in dealing with an aging and shrinking labor force.
If nothing is done today, future economic growth would be at risk due to the failure to adequately replace retirees in the active labor force.
"The shrinking of the labor force in deficit countries could exceed 200 million workers; but, on the basis of today's migration rates, only 32 million workers would be willing or able to move from sending to deficit countries to compensate for the decline.
Hence only one in six of those retiring workers would be replaced, the report said of the global prospects by 2050 if policies remain unchanged. Aside from economic growth, fiscal balances and the welfare of the elderly would also be put at serious risk, it said.
On a global scale, the WB said preparing for the future would require wide-ranging changes in education, social protection, labor markets, and migration policies in both sending and receiving countries. These issues should increasingly be included in the international cooperation agenda, its report said.
There should also be some refocusing done on the recruitment and training of mid-level skilled workers as these are in high demand now and would remain so into the future. â€œLabor shortages in some areas, such as health care professionals at various skill levels, are already significant. Short- and long-term projections both point to the fact that labor shortages will grow in many rich countries, and that these labor shortages will occur across the skills spectrum, with significant demand for mid-level skills or even relatively low-level skills,â€ according to the study.
Mid-level skills include nurses, call center agents and others in intermediate business services. Low-level skills refer to retail sales persons, waiters and the like. If training programs were in place, migrants with vocational, secondary levels of education, linguistic proficiency could fill gaps in these job markets, the study said. It is important to address the training gap now because it takes 15 to 20 years or more to train a skilled worker from childhood and adulthood, according to the study. If both labor receiving and sending countries collaborated now, todayâ€™s children and those to be born and educated in the next 10 to 20 years would be adequately primed for future labor market needs. (PNA)
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