Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



ESCAP. International Labour Migration and Remittances between the Developing ESCAP Countries and the Middle East: Trends, Issues and Policies. Bangkok: United Nations Publication, 1987.206 pp.(Development Papers No.6)

Development Papers No.6 is a study of remittances generated by the international migration of labour between the ESCAP region and the Middle East. It is .~ based on six-country case studies, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Philippines, Thailand and Korea. It is divided into four main chapters on the following themes: patterns of labour and remittance flows; impact of remittances on the domestic economics of the labour-exporting economy; labour recruitment and remittances procedures in the labour-exporting countries and the demand patterns in the labourimporting countries; policies and administrative measures of labour-exporting countries with regard to workers’ protection and welfare; control of remittances, coping with a reduced demand for integrating the returned migrants; and the possibilities of co-operation between the labour-exporting and the labour-importing countries. International labour migration prior to 1970s was confmed mainly to the western European countries and the migrants came mainly from southern and eastern European countries. After the 1973 oil-price hike and subsequent accumulation of oil revenues, the Middle Eastern countries embarked on ambitious programmes of construction to accelerate economic development. Since the scale of development process was beyond the capacity of local manpower, there was a large flow of migrant labour into the Middle East, mainly from the ESCAP region. Chapter 1 describes the trends in labour-flows from the ESCAP region to different regions of the world in the earlier period, and the sharp acceleration in this flow to Middle East in the 1970s. Some aspects of the emigrating labour force have a direct impact on the domestic economic and social development process. This factor is highlighted in Section 2 of Chapter 1, which shows that although large-scale emigration relieved unemployment pressures in these countries, the exodous of semi-skilled and skilled production workers created shortages of such labour in these economies. This finding points to the need to take account of costs of training, dislocation in production and selective wage pressures while counting the benefits from labour emigration.

Faiz Bilquees

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