#Article (Archive)

Time for a Change in Attitude

Sep 11, 2008, 6:29 AM

It is heartening to see that the OECD is stating that rich countries should not scorn low-skilled migrants.

Many rich countries are trying to encourage permanent migration by highly skilled migrants, while restricting less-skilled immigrants to temporary status, the OECD says. This trend is not a new one. For many years now rich countries have been handpicking those they wish to allow, well educated professionals, and those they wish to exclude, unskilled, badly educated people. There is an inherent discrimination is these rules. They ignore the fact that many people in the developing world do not get an opportunity to get an education. This means they are automatically excluded simply because of the misfortune of their birth. The only option left open to these people is to try and get to wealthy, developed countries illegally. In the process they risk their lives. Of course wealthy countries, in a lot of cases, depend heavily on illegal migrants to bolster their workforce and take the menial jobs their citizens will not take. They turn a blind eye to a certain number of immigrants because they need them and persecute the others.

The OECD, which represents the world's richest developed countries, says that in 2006 there were four million permanent migrants, and 2.5 million temporary migrants admitted by its members.

But it does add that the rate of increase in migration is slowing, and it expects the looming slowdown in OECD countries will lead to lower flows of migrants.

The OECD also points out that most migrants decide to return home regardless of government policy. It estimates that 20% to 50% of migrants leave the host country within five years.

This clearly shows that many people do not wish to leave their homes forever, they merely wish to go for a short time and earn some money to make a better life for themselves and their families. The sooner the wealthy, developed countries realise this and adopt a more humanitarian approach, the better.