Managing migration in the Philippines: Lessons for India
This paper highlights the significance of international migration in the Philippines economy and society, discusses the supportive and regulatory role that the government of the Philippines plays in promoting it and draws the lessons that India might learn from the Philippines experience. Temporary labour migration to foreign countries is a policy priority of the Government of the Philippines which restricts official access to markets through recruitment by licensed agencies or the government itself. The Government retains a regulatory role, though most of the responsibility for recruiting workers is entrusted with the private sector with a view to protecting workers from abuse and discouraging illegal recruitment. International migrants receive several benefits- pre migration training, life insurance, pensions and loan facilities. Remittances are encouraged and investment programmes are offered. Filipinos abroad are given psychological counselling to maintain Filipino values and offered rights to vote in national elections. The Philippines government also lends its support to return migrants through tax-free shopping facilities, investment loans and subsidised scholarships. The efforts of the government have yielded substantial results even though short comings and failures do remain. The gains of government policies however far outweigh their inadequencies. India has several lessons to draw from the Philippines experiment in order to organise systematic flows of emigrants from India, namely to take care of their working and living conditions abroad, to channel emigrants' savings into productive uses, to promote welfare funds of emigrant workers, to protect the interests of workers abroad during their sojourn and after return, to offer intending emigrants pre-departure orientation courses, to prevent all practices of breach of contract on the part of recruitment agencies and foreign employers and to increase the investment of Indian embassies in the affairs of Indian emigrants.
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