As part of The Guardian’s series on global development and migration, its environment editor John Vidal recorded a podcast with three specialists who debated migrant labour, brain drain, and whether restrictions on migration should change.
Here Vidal talks about how migration is creating ghost towns with Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development:
Vidal: I was in Kerala recently and in Bangladesh, and I’ve seen whole villages there that are basically empty, people are working in the Gulf or wherever. Those remittances are helping enormously and you can say that’s for the benefit of the whole community but also for the individual and their families.
Clemens: Absolutely. A 10th of the labour force of Kerala is in the United Arab Emirates right now, that’s astonishing and reflects the incredible opportunities which they have there but not at home. That is absolutely not a sufficient development strategy, it’s not a long-term development strategy, as Sylvie rightly points out. But the alternative to migration – if we see migration as the problem – is less migration. And there’s no evidence at all that trapping some of those people against their will, removing their option to migrate to the Gulf, would develop Kerala.